South West Wales

Paralysed Josh Davies qualifies as scuba diver months after accident

Josh Davies with Dai Mathias and Mark Thomas from the Llwchwr branch of BSAC

A man who was paralysed from the waist down when he was crushed by a falling tree on the family farm has qualified as a scuba diver.

Josh Davies, 21, from Pontlliw, Swansea broke his spinal cord in two places, aged just 19, in February 2011.

But he has fought his disability and already got one diving qualification with the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC).

He is hoping for another on a trip to Lanzarote for warm water training later this year.

Mr Davies said the water sport has given him something to look forward to and is helping him to come to terms with life following the accident.

He was cutting down an old ash tree with his stepfather when the tree fell on him.

'Getting there'

"I broke my spinal cord in two places and had to be airlifted to hospital by helicopter. I'm now basically paralysed from the belly button down," he explained.

"I used to play rugby and all sorts of sports and have always been an outdoor sort of person. I was absolutely devastated when I found out that that was it. I was paralysed and would never walk again.

"Then one day I woke up and thought I had to make the best of a bad job and get on with my life.

"While I'm still learning how to simply survive in a wheelchair, I'm getting there and diving has certainly helped."

Mr Davies has passed his Ocean Diver certificate while training at the BSAC's Llwchwr branch, and is working towards one in sports diving.

'Absolute inspiration'

"I absolutely love it in the water and diving is brilliant when you can see fish and marine life," Mr Davies said.

But because of his disability he soon gets cold in the water and that is why training in warmer water is needed.

"It's going to be amazing. It should help me with the water being so much warmer. I'm really hoping I can pass my Sports Diver qualification while I'm there."

Another problem he has is keeping his balance following his accident, but the club uses an underwater scooter which they weight on one side to help him.

Club training officer Dai Mathias said Mr Davies was an "absolute inspiration".

"I've never met anyone so determined to succeed. I can honestly say he performed better than many able-bodied divers and passed the theory with a 100% score," he said.

Instructor Mark Thomas said he had done brilliantly in pass his Ocean Diver qualification without any special treatment.

"He had to do exactly the same as any other diver despite his disability."

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