Medical Breakthroughs: Diver survives near-death accident

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A commercial diver for 23 years is raising awareness about head injuries after a diving accident almost killed him.
News 10 has this medical breakthrough you’ll see only on 10.

With five dogs, Ethan Sudul leads an active life, especially when he worked as a commercial diver…spending six months at a time in the Gulf.

“For me it was normal. I was happy, healthy and doing my dream job,” Sudel said.
All that all changed back in 2016 when Ethan was coming up from a dive and contracted what’s called decompression sickness or “the bends” in his brain.
Nitrogen bubbles traveled to his bloodstream, causing brain damage and shutting down the left side of his body.
“I never even heard that. Over 2000 dives and all of a sudden that one was the massive one that just about punched my ticket.”
Since the accident, Ethan now has short term memory issues, a slight tremor and issues with fine motor skills.
He says he often forgets his phone and keys and is constantly making lists.
his brain injury has affected his mental health as well.

“I had real bad PTSD, anxiety and depression after the injury because I had to completely change careers and nightmares I had from the actual accident. It’s hard to really comprehend when you look normal, but it’s a day to day struggle that sometimes is worse than others.”

Through alternative treatments , including acupuncture hyperbaric oxygen therapy – Ethan says he has seen some improvement.
His best advice for brain injuries – join a support group and don’t do it alone.
“Instead of suffering in silence and being frustrated and saying is this it, do I just have to deal with t,” he said.
“You’ve got a chance to talk to other people, get connected to different resources. It’s not going to cure you, but if it improves your quality of life even by 5 percent, that’s 5 percent you didn’t have before.”

Ethan is part of the Amaze Brain Injury Support Group in Lafayette.
The Amaze Foundation is putting on the 2019 Better Brain Expo on September 14 to connect people with wellness professionals to help heal symptoms related to brain issues.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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