A group of injured players supported by the IPF were recently given the opportunity to try scuba diving for the first time as part of the charity's Engage Programme.
The RFU Injured Players Foundation’s Engage Programme, which aims to provide confidence building activities for rugby players who suffer catastrophic injuries on the pitch, has now given some of the injured players supported by the charity the chance to get involved in scuba diving.
This initiative is happening in partnership with the Scuba Trust and spurred on by Tom Hughes, an IPF client who has become the only qualified BSAC dive instructor to qualify while using a wheelchair after injury and the first wheelchair user to qualify on a rebreather, which was funded by the charity, which allows for longer dives.
Said Tom: "Diving can allow someone with a disability to strip away some of their physical limitations and feel liberated under water. The IPF has been there for me since the moment I was injured and I’m looking forward to giving something back by sharing with other clients the tranquillity and freedom you can find under water.”
The first of two try dives at Ascot saw Dani Watts, Daniel Fish-Halverson, Alex Bennett, John Terry, Duncan Campbell and Liam O’Keefe enjoying the experience.
Said Dani: "I absolutely loved it. I didn’t think I would but this was real freedom under the water, so silent and relaxing.”
Duncan added: "Tom Hughes persuaded me to do it. It was an absolutely amazing feeling and experience. I could have stayed in the pool all afternoon!”
All passed the 'suitable for further training' test. There will be more trial dives and a weekend of training in May before those selected head out to Egypt to dive in the ocean.
To discover more about the IPF or to donate visit rfuipf.org.uk