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AD 2016 Q2

As we pointed out in the spring 2013 edition of the Alert Diver, even being a dive buddy has potential legal implications. So, to bump this up a notch, what about the diver training organisations themselves? Where do they stand? How do they relate to South African law? Are they all considered the same under our legal system in spite of the differences in organisational structures and training programmes? How does this affect their respective instructors and trainee divers from a legal perspective? These are not exactly simple questions. It is certainly true that the respective training organisations differ in a number of ways. However, this does not imply that there are necessarily differential legal implications for each of them. In fact, under South African law, the legal principles are common in all matters. Therefore, if you suffer a loss and you (or your estate in the case of a fatality) wish to recover damages, the legal principles would be applied commonly; whether you are driving or diving. Although not a frequent occurrence, there have been quite a number of law suits associated with diving injuries and damages in South Africa. This is not surprising, as the occurrence of law suits is really a function of “numbers”. As training increases, so do the chances of injuries and, with it, the chances of legal recourse. So, it remains wise to insure yourself, your equipment or your business in a proper and effective way. But before getting back to the potential differences amongst the training agencies, let’s first explore the foundational legal principles on which any civil claim would be adjudicated: inherent risk, negligence and duty to take care.

RESEARCH, EDUCATION &

RESEARCH, EDUCATION & MEDICINE EXPERT OPINIONS age-dependent (see Table 3). Ratios (and health risk) can generally be improved by modifying exercise and dietary patterns. BODY FAT A certain amount of body fat is required to maintain health. Too much fat, however, puts a strain on the heart and other systems. A slow upward creep in body fat with age is common and can be problematic. The best way to reduce excess body fat is to combine diet and exercise efforts. Dieting alone will cause the loss of muscle tissue and a reduction in metabolic rate that will ultimately make excess weight come back faster. Numerous formulas can predict percentage of body fat using different skinfold measures. PUSH-UP CAPACITY Push-up capacity is a convenient measure of strength. The normative data require a military push-up through the range of motion from full extension of the arm to the elbow bent at 90 degrees. Starting from the upright position with the elbows fully extended, the push-ups are done at a steady pace until they can no longer be continued. Performance can be markedly improved with training. SIT-UP CAPACITY Sit-up capacity is another convenient measure of strength, but it is important to note that the norms are based on a style of sit-up that should be used only for testing. Anchoring the feet flat on the floor allows a strong hip flexor (psoas major) to power the movement instead of the abdominal muscles, potentially increasing back discomfort that sit-ups are also used to reduce (because the psoas major pulls the lumbar spine forward). Sit-ups (or “crunches”) are more appropriately done from a starting position with the thighs perpendicular to the floor and the calves lying unanchored across a chair or similar surface to make the movement reliant on the abdominal muscles. Table 3. Waist-to-hip ratios and risk of heart disease Age (years) Classification 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60-69 Men Low Risk

JENNA WILEY GRIP STRENGTH Grip strength is a simple measure of strength. The dominant hand will often score 10 percent higher than the nondominant hand. As with many of the tests we use, comparison of an individual’s pre- and posttraining period performance can be useful. Table 6. Grip strength scores by gender Classification Males (kg) Females (kg) Excellent >64 >38 Very Good 56-64 34-38 Above Average 52-55 30-33 Average 48-51 26-29 Below Average 44-47 22-25 Poor 40-43 20-21 Very Poor

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