Whitewater rafting can accurately be described as an outdoor recreational activity. It can also accurately be described as an extreme sport, and it's this description that might make you wonder if you're able to participate. This can be a concern if you have a pre-existing medical condition which can pose a risk to you during the session. Does this mean someone whose health is affected by certain factors should forget about whitewater rafting?
A Broad Term
Pre-existing medical conditions are a broad term. Diabetes is a pre-existing condition—but at the same time, so is heart disease and some neurological disorders. Some medical conditions don't impact your daily life (or your ability to participate in extreme sports), whereas others certainly do. Some logic is required, and a serious condition that could potentially be strained by the physical demands of rafting could be an issue.
Ask the Rafting Company
There's no universal rule about whether or not a pre-existing medical condition can be accommodated, so it's best to consult your chosen whitewater rafting company. They might already have a list of conditions that mean someone is unsuitable for their service, which would be based upon typical limitations resulting from the condition versus the physical demands of the activity. Still, there can be some room for negotiation.
A rafting company can often accommodate someone with a pre-existing medical condition, even a serious one, as long as certain provisions are made. You might be asked to provide a letter from your physician, giving the all-clear to participate in strenuous activities such as extreme sports. This allows for a professional assessment of your suitability (provided by your doctor), which ensures that the rafting company won't unknowingly jeopardize your health.
In addition to any supporting documentation, you will usually be required to sign a liability waiver. This isn't related to pre-existing medical conditions, and all participants will be required to sign one. Personal responsibility plays a role, and it's up to you to decide whether you personally believe that your condition could complicate things, since you will be signing a waiver that absolves the rafting company from all reasonable liability that can arise during the rafting trip, however unlikely this might be.
Once you have decided that your medical condition won't hamper your ability to safely participate (along with a physician's note, if required), you should consider other arrangements that should be in place. This covers matters such as if the rafting instructor has any first aid training, and if a first aid kit is carried in the raft.
There are many factors that determine whether a pre-existing medical condition will prevent you from participating in whitewater rafting, so it's important that all these factors are carefully considered.