Current Students and Staff

// University News

6 Oct 2014

Surfing can prevent suicidal feelings in combat veterans with PTSD, says Loughborough researcher

Surfing can help improve well-being in combat veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and even avert suicidal feelings, according to a Loughborough University researcher. 

Nick Caddick said some of the veterans from Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, who took part in his study, revealed that surfing in Cornwall had not only improved their health and quality of life but saved their lives.

It is the first time research has been conducted into a ‘Blue Gym’ – the sea - therapy that is becoming increasingly popular in Britain and America and is being seen as an alternative to the traditional medical option which can involve drugs.

It is estimated that 6.9 per cent of UK combat soldiers will go on to suffer significant distress as a result of their service.

Nick, a PhD Student in Psycho-social Health and Wellbeing at the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, said: “A number of veterans said they would most likely not be around if it wasn’t for experiencing surfing in the ‘Blue Gym’ environment. For the men, being active in this environment was an excellent example of ‘exercise is medicine’.”

The huge benefits of surfing for combat veterans suffering from PTSD are revealed in a study called, ‘The effects of surfing and the natural environment on the well-being of combat veterans’, which will shortly be published in the journal Qualitative Health Research.

To read press release click here