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.