Deep dive therapy will make a splash in the West

PEOPLE with disabilities who have not walked for years have been given new hope with revolutionary scuba therapy about to make a splash in Sydney Olympic Park.

NSW Sports Minister Paul Scully, through Parramatta State MP Donna Davis, has granted space at Olympic Pool to scuba therapist Lyndi Leggett who has been conducting successful sessions in Newcastle and Central Coast pools.

Wanting to expand into Western Sydney, Ms Leggett approached Chamber Alliance of Western Sydney (CAWS) President Schon Condon to see if he could lobby for space at Olympic Park pool.

They had known each other for a while and Mr Condon was familiar with the scuba program. For Mr Condon, it was “a no-brainer”. He promptly contacted Ms Davis who was so enthusiastic with the idea that she had no hesitation in knocking on the Minister’s door.

“I saw what a difference the program was making into people’s lives,” Mr Condon said.

“People who had not moved in 30 years are going into the water and are now walking. Lyndi needed space in Western Sydney to run sessions once a week. I was happy to help.”

Ms Leggett runs The Scuba Gym Australia, following on the discovery by American scuba diver David Lawrence that the activity helped his quadriplegic son.

“The weightlessness of diving gives people with a range of disabilities, from the physical through to psychological and neurological, a sense of freedom,” Ms Leggett said.

“David Lawrence’s son was a healthy 11 year old who had a brain tumour and after surgery, doctors said he would not walk again. He could not feel anything from the neck down.”

But his father was not going to give up so easily. Mr Lawrence knew about Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment doing amazing things for people with a range of injuries.

Since he had been a scuba diver for many years, this therapy sparked his interest, so he took his son to a local swimming pool for a new kind of workout.

Kitted out in dive gear, David Junior’s progress was amazing.

David Lawrence Snr and his wife Kim were so impressed with the therapy, they started their successful Scuba Gym business. And David Jnr, who walks and drives a car, helps out too – giving other people the chance that restored his life.

Apart from quadriplegics and paraplegics, scuba therapy works with people with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, lyme’s disease, dandy walker syndrome, hypotonia, fibromyalgia, ehlers danlos syndrome (EDS), motor neuron disease, spina bifida, autism, Down Syndrome, PTSD and amputees.

Back in Australia, scuba instructor Ms Leggett heard about the program and jumped on board to bring it out here.

Living on the Central Coast, Ms Leggett launched Scuba Gym Australia at the Peninsula Leisure Centre at Woy Woy in 2019.

The results have been amazing.

“Our clients at The Scuba Gym in Australia have improved lung function, core strength and co-ordination, sometimes for the first time in ages, rather than being dependent on regular disability services that can often be inadequate or painful,” Ms Leggett said.

“We have seen autistic children concentrate, focus, gain confidence, do things their parents thought they would never do.

“We have experienced a man with spina bifida being able to wash his car and cut his own food now he is able to use muscles he was unable to use, and enjoy freedom out of his wheelchair.”
With the program running successfully at Woy Woy, Wyong and Newcastle, Ms Leggett is keen to expand to the Western Suburbs where she could help so many more people.

“Olympic Park Aquatic Centre is the ideal place for this and I thank Schon Condon, Donna Davis and Paul Scully for making this happen,” Ms Leggett said.

“And we must thank the fabulous team at Olympic Park for their help in making it so much easier for us bringing gear into the centre.

“Their help in ensuring this is a successful and regular event is appreciated so much.”

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