With school out for summer and temperatures hovering in the nineties, many Floridians are spending more time at the pool. But, one common pool activity—practicing holding one’s breath—may be more lethal than one might think.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on May 22, 2015, stating holding one’s breath can cause sudden injury or death via blackouts in shallow water for all types of swimmers, even the most elite and experienced.
In 2011, Whitner Milner, a diver, and spear-fisher from Atlanta died at age 25 while attempting to hold his breath for three minutes in his family’s pool. The medical examiner concluded his death was likely caused by a blackout triggered by holding his breath.
A blackout can occur with no warning. As noted by Christopher Boyd, lead researcher at the New York City Department of Health, “Before [one] realizes he needs to surface to take another breath, he is already unconscious.”
Boyd explains blackouts occur because the body only signals for oxygen when carbon dioxide levels in the body are already too high. Oxygen levels then drop low enough for a person to pass out. Even more alarming, it is difficult to detect, even in swimming pools with a lifeguard on duty because victims do not show any signs of struggle before they black out.
As a personal injury attorney serving the Treasure Coast and Lake Okeechobee area, I want to remind everyone to be safe while enjoying the pool or beach this summer. Demonstrated by this study, do not harbor a false sense of security just because the pool is shallow or you are a seasoned swimmer, and diligently monitor anyone holding their breath in the water while playing or training.
Although this article does not directly apply to negligent drowning cases, there is a high incidence of drowning cases throughout Florida, and when negligent homeowners, parks, schools, motels or hotel operators fail in their duty to protect individuals from harm, legal action against them should be taken quickly. Moving fast to get the evidence to support the injury or wrongful death case can be crucial with regard to the outcome. I have extensive experience and substantial qualifications to present your case to the highest level of success. Call me immediately for a free consultation at any of our law offices in Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Fort Pierce, or Okeechobee.
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