DEAR ABBY: A recent letter in your column misquoted information from one of my publications, "Medical Examination of Sports Scuba Divers." Nowhere in my study is it stated that the chronic conditions mentioned (such as asthma, diabetes, headaches, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease, etc.) are prohibitions against sport diving.
We have established physical standards for sport divers, and these accommodate many people with chronic illnesses who wish to participate in this sport.
Information about diving with chronic illness can be found at www.scubamed.com. Thanks for getting the word out, Abby. Your advice regarding proper training and certification is appreciated. -- DR. ALFRED BOVE, PHILADELPHIA
DEAR DR. BOVE: Thank you for correcting the error. You are not the only expert I heard from. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: In response to Sarah Moody's letter about her son who died tragically of an asthma attack while scuba diving, Ms. Moody did not mention the organization that trained her son for diving, or if he had been certified.
It should be noted that all major certifying organizations (NAUI, PADI, SSI, YMCA) screen scuba students up front and exclude from training anyone with medical conditions considered "absolute contraindications." While scuba diving is not inherently dangerous, it involves certain risks and physical demands. Anyone who wants to experience the fun of scuba diving needs proper training from a reputable certifying agency, and -- as with any new physical activity -- should have a doctor's OK before doing so. -- SKIP POLLARD, SCUBA INSTRUCTOR, FORT LAUDERDALE
DEAR SKIP: That's practical advice, and it could save a life if it's heeded.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 12-year-old girl. Recently a boy I know was shot while standing in front of a movie theater with a bunch of us kids from school.
We didn't know that a gang member was standing close by him. Suddenly, a car came speeding by. Members of a rival gang opened fire on the gang member, aiming an automatic weapon out the window of the car.
Not only did the spray of bullets kill the gang member, but the gunfire also went beyond him and hit my 12-year-old friend, who had no connection whatsoever with either gang.
Not long after the attack on the World Trade Center, I heard someone from another country say on TV that Americans don't know what it's like to have a war going on in their own country. Those words made me furious.
I think someone should take that person to the spot where my friend was gunned down. There are still bloodstains on the sidewalk.
We Americans know all too well what it's like to have a gang war going on in our streets. It has been going on for years -- and is still going on, even as I sit here writing this letter. Just sign me ... FURIOUS IN TENNESSEE
DEAR FURIOUS: I wish there was a simple answer to the problem of gangs and violence, but there isn't. The causes are complex and varied. However, this nation needs to pay more attention to -- and allocate more funds for -- youth programs that strengthen the family. I know it's not the answer, but it would be a good start.
For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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