New Scuba Medical Form Policy for 2012
Use of the Florida Sea Base Health and Medical record must be discontinued and cannot be accepted for Florida Sea Base crews arriving in 2012. You MUST use the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record form.
Current Scuba Medical Constraint Policies
The BSA Scuba Policy has been revised within the Guide to Safe Scouting. The BSA Guide to Safe Scouting is updated quarterly on the BSA website http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/toc.aspx. To go directly to the Scuba Policy within the GSS, click here: http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/GSS/gss02.aspx#_scuba.
Asthma - Persons being treated for asthma (including reactive airway disease) are disqualified from BSA scuba programs. Persons with a history of asthma who have been asymptomatic and have not used medications to control asthma for five years or more may be allowed to scuba dive as part of a BSA activity upon submission of evidence from their treating physician. Persons with a history of asthma who have been asymptomatic and have not used medication to control asthma for less than five years may be allowed to scuba dive as part of a BSA activity upon submission of a methacholine challenge test (MCT) showing the asthma to be resolved. The MCT is the ONLY test we can accept. MCTs are conducted by a pulmonologist in a clinic or hospital.
Seizures – Persons with a history of epilepsy or other seizure disorders must be seizure free and have not used seizure medication for a minimum of five (5) years before they can be approved for scuba diving as part of a BSA activity. A note from the participant’s doctor stating they have been medication and seizure free for 5 years must be submitted with the persons Florida Sea Base Health and Medical Record to receive medical approval to participate in FSB scuba activities.
Diabetes - 1. Persons with diabetes who are 18 years of age or older who wish to scuba dive should be assessed by a physician familiar with hyperbaric issues related to diabetes and medications used for the control and treatment of diabetes. Persons 18 years old or older who are determined to be candidates for scuba diving must submit four (4) hemoglobin tests taken within the previous 12 months each with A1c values less than 7. Any test within the past 12 months with an A1c value greater than 7 are not approved to scuba dive.
2. There is no nationally established protocol for persons with diabetes who are less than 18 years of age to scuba dive. Therefore, persons less than 18 years of age with Type 1 diabetes will not be allowed to scuba dive.
3. Persons under the age of 18 who control their diabetes with exercise and diet (no medications) and can provide three (3) sequential hemoglobin tests with A1c values less than 6 may be approved to scuba dive.
Copies of the required lab reports showing the A1c values must be submitted with the persons Florida Sea Base Health and Medical Record or BSA Annual Health and Medical Record form to apply for medical approval to participate in FSB scuba activities.
Most drugs used to control anxiety, depression, OCD, ADD and ADHD are categorized as psychotropic. This category of drugs is not particularly compatible with scuba diving. (Actually these drugs do not seem to be compatible with environments involving pressure changes in general. The FAA was so concerned a few years ago that it suspended or revoked pilots licenses for most people using many of these medications.) Psychotropic drugs can cause symptoms that mimic nitrogen narcosis at shallow depths. They can also cause symptoms that mimic decompression illness (headache, joint pain, etc.) and they have a greater effect on the brain when under increased pressure. Some medications are of particular concern because they may cause seizures at depth. I am working with the Florida Sea Base medical supervisor to formulate a policy on scuba diving at FSB while using psychotropic drugs. NONE OF THESE MEDICATIONS HAVE BEEN TESTED FOR SAFETY WHILE SCUBA DIVING. If you allow your child to scuba dive while using any of these medications there is an increased risk of death. If your child’s doctor tells you any of these drugs are safe while scuba diving, ASK THEM for a report, study, journal article or ANY scientific evidence to support their claim. The manufactures and the FDA have made no such claim. Adults and children alike are nothing more than lab rats for the pharmaceutical companies when diving while using these medications.
It is imperative that FSB staff members and participants who are using psychotropic drugs discuss this in depth with their doctor until an official policy is issued by the BSA or FSB. Medications are required to be listed on the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record form. All incidents of psychotropic drug use will be reviewed by the Florida Sea Base medical supervisor for final determination on clearance to scuba dive at the Florida Sea Base.
Blood Thinners and Hemophilia
Please refer to the post of 31 May 2011 for details.
Medical Form Submission Deadlines
- Spring crews – 01 January
- Summer crews – 01 March
- Winter crews – 01 October
FINAL APPROVAL OF SCUBA MEDICAL FORMS CAN TAKE WEEKS AND MAY REQUIRE FOLLOW-UP VISITS WITH YOUR LOCAL DOCTOR OR ADDITIONAL TESTING. METHACHOLINE CHALLENGE TESTS, STRESS TESTS, COMPREHENSIVE REPORTS FROM NEUROLOGIST, CARDIOLOGIST, ETC. MAY BE REQUIRED. FOR YOUR BENEFIT AND THE BENEFIT OF YOUR FLORIDA SEA BASE CREW, PLEASE COMPLY WITH THE ABOVE SCHEDULE TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.
YOUR MEDICALS WILL BE REVIEWED IN THE ORDER RECEIVED.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT THESE DEADLINES MAY NOT BE IN SYNCH WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY’S REIMBURSEMENT SCHEDULE. IF YOU CHOOSE TO MISS THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE YOU MAY HAVE INSUFFICIENT TIME TO RECEIVE CLEARANCE FOR SCUBA DIVING.