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Matt The AquaMan

Discussion in 'Matt the Aquaman' started by CALI68, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. CALI68

    CALI68 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Jose, CA
    I don't know if this is the right place to post this but since I'm introducing someone I figured it would be a good place to start. If one of the moderators has a better place that would be great.

    Anyway, A while back I had a few questions about my DUI drysuit so I called DUI and spoke with Susan Long. Susan is an incredibly nice person and very helpful. Her and I got to talking and I mentioned that I'm fairly active on Scubaboard and she quickly told me about a friend of hers from the board named MATT THE WONDER BOY. He is a greeter here and my guess would be most people have come across him here and there. I got in contact with Matt and found out that his life long dream is to Scuba Dive. Well most people would say, "so do it" but what you wouldn't know is that Matt has Muscular Dystrophy. Illness aside he presses on looking for any bit of information that's going to help him achieve his goal. He has been in contact with some serious people, not the least of which is The Navy Seals. The following is an article written by one such Seal. I think you'll find it inspiring, humbling and really make you appreciate how easy it is for you to strap on a tank and jump in. Check it out and next time you see his name pop up give him a big thumbs up!

    Here is the message he sent me:

    Hey Chris, just thought I would share the latest article on me that was done by the Navy Seals. Hope you enjoy it.

    Safe Diving

    BlackNET: One man’s dream: Scuba dive despite medical limitations

    Written by NavySEALs.com/BlackNET News

    Thursday November 4, 2004

    By Steve Hammons
    Deputy editor, NavySEALs.com / BlackNET Global News Service
    04 November 2004

    A 27-year-old Minnesota man with muscular dystrophy is reaching out to the U.S. Navy and Navy SEAL communities for support in achieving his life-long dream of scuba diving.

    Matt Johnston has also contacted and received help from engineering professors, physicians, scuba organizations, researchers and others in his quest to dive. He’s determined to connect with others who have the knowledge to help him.

    Knowing that outfits like NASA and the SEALs are on the cutting edge of these kinds of technologies, Johnston is reaching out in their direction to recruit the expertise and support he will need to accomplish his mission. “My dream is to go scuba diving. I am trying to reach out to more people to help me get my dream accomplished! I am willing to do anything to make my dream to go scuba diving happen.” Matt says.

    Matt says he has dreamed about scuba diving since he was six years old. However, his medical condition has proved limiting to accomplishing some of his physical goals. His drive, ambition and dreams have continued to thrive despite these limitations.

    Confined to certain necessary but restrictive medical equipment, Johnston doesn’t want to go on a SEAL combat mission, he just wants to go to relatively shallow depths for a limited amount of time.

    Due to his medical condition, Matt has come close to death several times, and he’s unsure how much time he may have to achieve his objective. “Doctors said I have nine lives for as many times that I have come close to dying,” Matt explains. “But I am still kicking! I don't know how much longer I have to live, could be a day, could be a year, could be more. Sometimes doctors don't know the answer either.”

    He has done extensive research on technologies and diving equipment available that could be applied to his situation. Johnston’s physician is a diver and reportedly believes this dream is technically and medically possible.

    “Most people think that this is possible,” Matt says. “The challenge is finding a way to make it work with the ventilator I am thinking about using under water. I would like to use a HT50 ventilator from Newport NMI. It's small, compact and weighs less than my current vent. It has been used in hyperbaric chambers down to 2.1 atmospheres, which is 33 feet.”

    Several organizations that help handicapped people dive have come to Matt’s attention and he has made many contacts to understand what kind of equipment and techniques are used. Certain types diving gear and medical equipment, such as a more portable ventilator, might be combined to make his dream a reality.

    Matt’s has done his research. “I would put the vent inside a backpack, strap it to me keeping the vent inside my dry suit, have an exhalation valve (one way) to let out the CO2 into the water and a line feeding into the dry suit. I think my air supply could either be above water, or I could have one of my diving buddies carry the air tank underwater.”

    “I have made lots of important friends in the diving world, especially with Diving Unlimited International in San Diego. Susan Long is the president of that company and we are in touch daily. Her whole company has been incredibly supportive of my dream and plan to help when it is time,” Matt states.

    Johnston has created a Web site to help generate understanding and support for his dream. On the site, he describes his love for the ocean and the idea of being underwater. He includes photos of himself, friends and the sea. Visit his site at http://www.scubadivingdream.com/

    Steve Hammons has worked as a journalist, editor, counselor, teacher-trainer, public safety urgent response specialist and federal government researcher. He is author of two novels, MISSION INTO LIGHT and the sequel LIGHT’S HAND, available from the NavySEALs.com SOCOM Store. Visit his home page at
  2. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    Thanks for sharing this! :D Matt is way cool!
  3. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    Oh yes - Matt one of us! :thumb: You'll see him welcoming new members on this forum, every one of them! He certainly gives a lot more than he takes.
  4. Nomaster

    Nomaster Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Moses Lake, WA
    Thanks for posting the article, I've been through Matt's site.
    What he's working on should have positive effects for many people.
    He's an impressive man.

  5. Matt the Aquaman

    Matt the Aquaman Great White

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Woodbury, MN
    Thanks for posting that Chris, that was very thoughtful. Navy SEALS rock and all you divers rock! Thanks for all the encouraging words you all give to me I am proud to be a part of the best dive board on the face of the earth! I feel so welcomed here. All you guys keep me going. Someday soon I will be underwater with all of you, then I can actually post that I did some dives. When my newspaper article comes out, I will put it up on the board. I thought the Navy SEALS did a great job on the article. Soon, I will be setting up a donation fund. Soon you should hear a lot more noise about me! Divers make the best friends. Take care all and safe diving. From Matt.
  6. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    Hey Matt,

    Let me know when and where this happens... maybe they won't mind an old instructor tagging along taking pictures! :D
  7. Drewpy

    Drewpy Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: No. California
    Defenitely an inspiration!! We could all learn a lot from Matt!!
    I hope someone is able to help him realise his dream!

    Good Luck Matt!- We have our fingers crossed for you! :wink:
    Let us know where we can send the donation!
  8. CBulla

    CBulla ~..facebook conch..~ ScubaBoard Supporter

    Chris - Thanks for sharing this article about Matt!

    Matt - I hope you share the date of this dive, I may have to see if I can tag along with that old instructor guy... gear crew ya know. :)
  9. jonnythan

    jonnythan Knight Scublar ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    You're probably one of the only ones around here who has met any SEALs! I'm jealous! :D
  10. CALI68

    CALI68 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: San Jose, CA
    A minor correction. The following is an e mail from the author of the article:

    Hi Chris,

    Matt Johnston let us know about your posting of our article on the scuba Web site. Hope you and your friends enjoyed it. One thing though -- I am not a SEAL, though it is understandable you might have assumed this.

    Our president and senior editor, Mark Divine, is the SEAL of the group. If you have a minute, maybe you could post a minor correction.

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