by Jay Shefsky
People with disabilities have been proving for years that no sport is off-limits. And whether or not an athlete is disabled, every sport can offer physical and emotional benefits.
Scuba diving, research has shown, offers special benefits for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and spinal cord injuries, as well as benefits for people with autism.
The researchers have studied people learning to dive with Chicago-based nonprofit Diveheart. The all-volunteer group works with individuals who have a variety of physical and developmental disabilities, vision and hearing impairments, amputations, traumatic brain injuries, PTSD and more. It was founded in 2001 by Jim Elliott, who first saw the power of adaptive sports when he taught skiing to his daughter, who is blind. Diveheart’s programs, which are supported through fundraising efforts, has programs around the country and in the Caribbean. There is never a charge to participants.
We visited a session at a swimming pool in west suburban Aurora to learn more.
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