June 27, 2015 Summary and response paper on “Unser Daughter Tests The Waters”
In her article “Unser Daughter Tests The Waters”, Amanda Schoenberg tells of a twenty four year old woman named Cody Unser who is paralyzed, and the work she has done in diving. Schoenberg explains Unser became paralyzed when she was twelve years old when she was struck with transverse myelitis. Schoenberg goes on to say “two years later, she earned her scuba certification. She has been diving ever since”. The article explains that Unser spent years lobbying doctors and gathering funding to research the therapeutic benefits of diving on individuals with spinal cord injuries.
The article describes Unser’s vision as becoming a reality in May when researchers spent a week in the Caymen islands studying the impact of diving on paraplegics, quadriplegics, and on able bodied divers. Schoenberg reports that the studies findings were dramatic, and that divers with disabilities showed improved strength and dexterity. It is reported that in some paralyzed divers, sensation, tone, or motor function improved by 20 to 30 percent.
This article was personally meaningful for mean because my son has the rare disease transverse myelitis also. I would have liked to have seen more information about Unser’s journey with transverse myelitis that led her to diving. The focus of the article however was about the research and work Unser was doing on diving, so it was understandable that it did not include many details on her transverse myelitis diagnosis. In my community of support groups for transverse myelitis, Cody Unser is well known and highly regarded.
The article contained stories from people with disabilities describing how diving has helped them. An army sergeant who became paralyzed after being shot while serving in Iraq. A former Navy seal who was paralyzed from a parachuting accident. As well as Cody Unser who was paralyzed when she was struck with transverse myelitis. They all gave their accounts of the experiences they have had with diving, and the ways that diving has helped them become stronger.
I did find that the article did lack the explanation for why diving helps, or what diving does that helps with these people with their disabilities. It simply talked about the fact that diving helped them without listing specific reasons or issues that diving was helpful for them. I would have liked to have seen some information about why being in the water has the effect that it does on how we move our bodies. The talks about disabled divers who regained sensation and feeling after diving but I was left wondering why. The author of the article took a very informative approach in writing the article. She filled it with names of foundations, operations, centers, and universities. There were so many names of people, places, organizations, and locations that I found myself losing interest because of it. All of the details took away from the articles story. If I were writing this article, I would focus more on the heartwarming aspect of Unser’s ability to overcome so much and ability to help so many other disabled people in the face of her own struggles. I would have described Transverse myelitis more and expressed how devastating and painful it is. I know that when my son was struck with transverse myelitis, he was in severe pain. He fought through grueling physical therapy every day for many months. Progress is slow, painful, and nearly impossible. Those that do recover their ability to walk are left with severe