Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 30, 2012

Paly student saved from near drowning

Quick action by classmates, coach help return pulseless teen to consciousness, fire officials say

The quick response of Palo Alto High School students and a swim coach to get an unconscious student out of the bottom of the school's swimming pool Tuesday, March 27, helped save his life, according to Palo Alto Fire Battalion Chief Niles Broussard.

The student was found unconscious in the bottom of the school's pool during swim practice at about 5:16 p.m. He was underwater for approximately 90 seconds, Broussard said in a statement.

Fellow members of the swim team quickly removed him from the pool. Feeling no pulse, the swim coach started cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for 30 seconds, and the student became somewhat responsive.

Palo Alto police arrived at the scene and provided support prior to the arrival of fire personnel, who then started advanced life-support care. The student became more responsive, Broussard said.

Emergency medical personnel, with help from the engine crew, took over and prepared the student for transport to a hospital. By the time he arrived, he was alert and talking, Broussard said.

The rapid response of students and staff and knowledge of CPR were responsible for saving the student's life, Broussard said. The incident is a good example of how a prepared community, working together in an emergency, can make a difference, he added.

The name of the student and cause of his unconsciousness have not been made public.

Sue Dremann

Comments

Posted by George, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:15 am

Anyone know what kind of liability the school district is responsible for if a student were to drown in one of the school district pools?


Posted by Just don't get it..., a resident of Southgate
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

Anyone know why the emergency vehicles were back at Paly about 5:30 last night?? They were in the same area.


Posted by Paly student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

If this happened at 12:12 pm, during the lunch period for Paly, how was the swim team practicing and why didn't any students know about it yesterday? As a current student, I am just finding out about this now.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

The 12:12pm time is a typo. The incident happened during the afternoon/evening practice session.


Posted by paly student, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:49 am

all this information is wrong. it happened at about 5:30 last night not 12:12! and honestly pa online shouldnt have written an article about it.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

Way to go swim team members! You save a fellow team mate!


Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 10:59 am

It seems to me that when a student nearly drowns that the first and most appropriate reactions should be ones of relief and congratulations, not one about liability in case they had died. And the next 4 comments are only about trivial reporting issues.
Not a single comment from them about a tragedy avoided and a shout out to the people to be thanked.
Luckily Frank has his head and heart in the right place.


Posted by Parent of Paly, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:09 am

Way to go Coach Danny!


Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:13 am

rem is a registered user.

Outstanding work by all.

The team and Coach did an outstanding job.

To all you negative people - Try saying Thanks for a job well done>


Posted by Swim team in Paly, a resident of Community Center
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:53 am

I am proud that-- the coach, school trainner, my daughter and her swim teammates they all worked hard together to save his life. Tell kid don't ever try again to hold the breath under the water for 3 laps!


Posted by kirsten, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Wow, how scary. I'm glad this seems to have all ended well. I hope the student doesn't have any lingering issues. Thank you to those who were paying attention and who helped save his life! As a parent of a younger swimmer, who's slated to attend PALY and hopefully participate on the team, do we have any additional information? Anything we can do to make sure this doesn't happen again? I could imagine one could choke or cough the wrong way during a work out and take on water, etc. but I don't know. Related to some other illness, maybe? I've heard the pool can be wicked crowded since it's a no cut sport, is that right?


Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm

So .. does anyone know what was going on--for real?

Was this a sanctioned swim practice?
Was the student a male or female?
Was the student in sanctioned swim ware?
Was the student supposed to be in the pool at the time?
Are there lifeguards posted?
How many kids are in the pool at this time of day?
What kind of life saving equipment is on-hand?
How many adults are CPR-trained/certified?
Are students required to have medical examinations before using the pool?

Given that a student death would likely devolve into a huge law suit, shouldn't these sorts of questions be asked?


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I am so pleased that this ended safely and that the child recovered.

However, I am so tired of being told half a story. As a Paly parent, I want to know how a child in the swim team in the supervision of a swim practice can nearly drown? In the same vein, I want to know how a Stanford athlete can have a medical emergency and die a week later.

Fit 19 year olds and high school freshman do not have life threatening medical emergencies or nearly drown for no reason. Parents and teens alike need to know what really happened. It is scary otherwise to think that any of our teens can go to college to play sport or go on the high school swim team and nearly lose their life for undisclosed reasons. Sport is meant to be a healthy lifestyle, but these two incidents in less than a week in our town cause us to ask questions? What really goes on in student sports?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

What a relief! So wonderful that people were so quick & so knowledgeable. I'm so glad the hospital is so close as well. I hope he makes a complete recovery.


Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Wow. Holding your breath underwater for 3 minutes while swimming? I've done 3m40s in a jacuzzi once, but that was stationary.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm

So .. does anyone know what was going on--for real?

Was this a sanctioned swim practice?

Was the student a male or female?

Was the student in sanctioned swim ware?

Was the student supposed to be in the pool at the time?

Are there lifeguards posted?

How many kids are in the pool at this time of day?
IT WAS VARSITY PRACTICE - ABOUT 40 KIDS

What kind of life saving equipment is on-hand?
YES

How many adults are CPR-trained/certified?
ALL PALY COACHES TAKE CPR AND FIRST AID EACH YEAR BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS.

Are students required to have medical examinations before using the pool? YES. ALL ATHLETES MUST HAVE A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND MUST TURN IN AN APPROVAL FORM BEFORE THEY CAN PRACTICE, LET ALONE COMPETE.

Given that a student death would likely devolve into a huge law suit, shouldn't these sorts of questions be asked? ANSWERED.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Sorry - here is the complete set of Q&A:

So .. does anyone know what was going on--for real?
YES

Was this a sanctioned swim practice?
YES

Was the student a male or female?
PERSONAL INFO.

Was the student in sanctioned swim ware?
YES.

Was the student supposed to be in the pool at the time?
YES.

Are there lifeguards posted?
NO. COACHES W/ CPR AND FIRST AID. MANY OF THE ATHLETES ALSO WORK AS LIFEGUARDS.

How many kids are in the pool at this time of day?

IT WAS VARSITY PRACTICE - ABOUT 40 KIDS

What kind of life saving equipment is on-hand?

YES

How many adults are CPR-trained/certified?

ALL PALY COACHES TAKE CPR AND FIRST AID EACH YEAR BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS.

Are students required to have medical examinations before using the pool? YES. ALL ATHLETES MUST HAVE A PHYSICAL EXAMINATION AND MUST TURN IN AN APPROVAL FORM BEFORE THEY CAN PRACTICE, LET ALONE COMPETE.

Given that a student death would likely devolve into a huge law suit, shouldn't these sorts of questions be asked? ANSWERED.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Those who constantly whine about the salaries and retirement benefits of the City's emergency response employees should go up to the parents of this student and tell them how terrible it is that those employees who helped save his life are getting decent salaries and livable retirement benefits and how we should cut more positions in the fire and police departments and make their lives as uncomfortable as we possibly can. Go ahead.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I have a somewhat different take on this.

My daughter was on the Paly swim team, about a decade ago. I am aware of the extreme levels of training (early morning, late afternoon). This craziness got started several decades ago, as records were being broken by those swimmers who were willing to practice to the extreme.

In my view, the CIF should limited practices to once a day (not twice), and the yardage should also be limited. The vast majority of swimmers will not be champions. Even fewer will break records. If limits are set, the times will be slower, but the competition will still be there. It will still be fun, competitive and exciting. Why are we pushing these kids so hard? Olympic hopefuls should join club teams and go at it, but that should not be a goal of our high schools.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm

CIF already has practice limits in place. Based upon hours per week. Paly follows those guidelines.

Different coach on the deck at Paly than when your daughter was on the team.

Varsity is the only group that practices in the morning and they only do a few days per week. The morning practices are mixed between dry land drills and swimming - sometimes all dry land, sometimes just swim.

Swimming is both an individual and team sport. Perhaps not every swimmer will be a champion, but they can contribute to the team's success by scoring points - points are awarded beyond first place!

Paly has been very successful in both boys and girls swimming - if you ask the kids, I think they would say that they enjoy their *team* success over individual accolades.

Most of the kids on the Paly team are part of the PASA club and/or are members of Paly's water polo team (and they also compete for a USAWP team).

If a family just wants to swim or race for fun, they can compete for any of the local "cabana" clubs. Varsity sports are for competition, not for the AYSO (everyone plays and gets a trophy) experience.


Posted by Dee, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

The comment above from "Swim team in Paly" reminds me of a similar incident described by San Francisco Chronicle columnist C. W. Nevius 12 years ago. His son was on a HS swim team up the Peninsula. He wrote two columns:

Accident Too Close for Comfort
Web Link

Learning to come up for air
Web Link


Posted by paly swim parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I too would like to recognize and commend the swift action by this child's teammates and Coach Danny. They're all heroes.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm

"Varsity is the only group that practices in the morning and they only do a few days per week."

Same old thing. That's what my daughter went through. CIF should limit the hours, the yards and for only one practice per day. The red hot parents should just get used to it. Super-competitive parents drive coaches, and vice versa. The adults need to step in here, and make swimming a rewarding experience for the majority of students.


Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Mar 28, 2012 at 3:09 pm

For those of you concerned about drownings, make sure the PA City Council does not brown out the fire station located near the public pool at Rinconada Park - at least during the Spring and Summer.


Posted by wait what?, a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 28, 2012 at 3:51 pm

i dont understand....how did a swim team member almost drown? isnt being able to stay afloat a basic requirement for being on a high school swim team?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm

"isnt being able to stay afloat a basic requirement for being on a high school swim team?
"

That is part of my point. These kids are being driven over the edge of the cliff. Swim team has become a modern version of child abuse, in some cases. We should be insisting that the kids be trained, according to rational standards. It will still be hard training, but it should not be extreme.

Our kids will still provide a ton of fun and excitement. More importantly, they will not get burned out, and there will be a lower chance of them passing out in the pool. High school swimming is way over the top. It is time to stop it.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Unfortunately none of you know the circumstances of what happened. It had nothing to do with over-training, too many hours, extreme expectations, etc. It had everything to do with a child's unfortunate decision to try an ill-advised feat/stunt without knowledge or approval of the staff.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm

BTW - Paly Varsity practices on average of 14 hours/week. The CIF maximum is 20 hours per week. Practice will probably drop down to 10 in a couple of weeks. So again - do not assume the worst without knowing the details first.


Posted by Staff, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm

The environment at the Paly pool is unlike any of the other four swimming pools in the district. Supervision is poor. Students are left on the pool deck area without supervision by both aquatics coaches and PE staff too often. Gates are left unlocked too frequently. Students are permitted on the pool deck area unsupervised. I have seen all this firsthand since 1993.
I do NOT know what transpired on this almost tragic occasion but I am so very thankful first and foremost that this student is alive.
How does a student linger on the bottom of the pool for a full 90 seconds without being noticed under proper supervision?
I have personally witnessed coaches and teachers depart after practice leaving students in the pool and pool area. Children, even good children misbehave. I have seen students hop over the fence and swim underneath the thermal blankets. I have seen the above mentioned coach have swimmers in the pool while the pool is partially covered by the blankets and repeat this behavior after being instructed not to repeat it!
The administration has been informed on many occasions about the lack of and poor supervision within the pool area by staff and took little or no corrective action. Unfortunately children like to "play" when around or in a pool. Their behavior takes on a dramatic change once they enter the gates. The Athletes are a bit more responsible than the typical "PE swimmer". All it takes is one occasion not taking safety seriously and a life is lost.


Posted by Paly mom, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2012 at 7:02 pm

congrats to the coach and students for saving this young mans life ... However in regards to any sort of lawsuits when children are registering for sports and school for that matter you sign a waiver stating that the school is not responsible for injury or death that is y they have the insurance kids bring home at the beginning of the year ... I learned this a couple of years back when my son as a result of bullying at Jordan attempted suicide ON school grounds DURING school hours with a yard duty only feet away as well as other students by walking up the bleachers and attempting to hang from the basketball court fencing ... fortunately in both these situations there were good outcomes with neither losing their lives


Posted by Annonymous, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 28, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Anything can happen at ANY time no matter how good of a swimmer anyone is. No one knows the full story. Too many rumors.


Posted by anon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Comments need to stop with the rumors and hearsay. Don't ask for personal information on the student or students on the team. The coaches are extremely qualified, and handled the situation professionally. Stop trying to find fault somewhere; it seems like half the people in this thread just want to find something wrong to nitpick with.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Thank you all for the quick, alert , and appropriate response to saving a life.
Palo alto mom


Posted by Mark, a resident of University South
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:14 am

I am so thankful that Paly requires CPR certification as a graduation requirement!


Posted by Let The Truth Be Told, a resident of Stanford
on Mar 29, 2012 at 5:56 am

What exactly happened and why? None of the comments have actually answered these two questions. The school must categorically make an honest effort to explain the incident. Was it a "freak" incident or are there more to this than meets the eyes. The exact truth will never be told. And don't expect answers anytime soon.

We should all be thankful that the student is alive and doing well. I personally want to express my sincere gratitude to all the first responders involved for doing a superb job. A person' life was saved. That is all that matters. I feel more secure than ever knowing we have such caring members of the community. I take more comfort now knowing that my daughter, who practices and swims with the Team, is safer and in good hands.
Way to go Vikings. And Coach Danny, your the man. Thank you!


Posted by Paly Alumni Parent, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Mar 29, 2012 at 7:51 am

Congratulations to the quick thinking students and the Paly swim coach (Danny) who were able to prevent a tragedy from occuring. The victim and parents owe them a lifetime of thank-yous. Good work Team Paly.

Unfortunately, any time you are doing activities in/near a pool, there is the possibility for accidents, even among trained swimmers. There have been isolated incidents over the years of students drowning in Bay Area high school pools. Thanks to the efforts of the Paly team members and the CPR and First Aid trained coaches, Paly will not be one of those statistics.

This is a great learning experience for all aquatic programs, I hope they all share this with their swimmers/athletes. While having trained adults on deck is wonderful, the athletes need to use good judgement as well to stay safe!


Posted by AMRW, a resident of another community
on Mar 29, 2012 at 8:22 am

I wonder why so many people feel they are entitled to specific details about the incident? I understand concerns about safety going forward if you have a child on the swim team. But beyond that, it seems people just want to rubberneck.


Posted by oh, a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 8:49 am

wow you saved a life, way to go

hollywood portrays drowning people as flapping about and splashing, drowning people sink and can not yell for help in reality,

please keep an eye on your children and your pools, they should have a lifeguard assigned during swim practices


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 29, 2012 at 10:57 am

So was this all about extreme training or a stunt?

Read the links posted above by Dee about C.W. Nevius' son - wow
-there are risks and high school students, while not "children" as posted by someone else, DO need supervision, even at PALY.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

From the Nevius article:

"They were doing what are called hypoxic workouts. The idea is to swim without taking a breath. It is supposed to increase red blood cell production and even help muscle tone."

I do not know if this activity was at play in the Paly workout, but it would not surprise me if it was. High school swim team is WAY too extreme! The adults push the extremism. These kids are pushed as hard, or harder, as Navy Seals in terms of water training.

Kids get these kind of ideas from overly ambitious adults.

Swim team should be a positive and vigorous activity. It is way beyond that, IMO.

Simple solution: CIF limits practices to once per day, no more than two hours and no more than a standard yardage, according to stroke; no extreme training methods.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm

To those who question why the public should be made aware of the details, I reply with these thoughts.

Firstly, all of us as parents of Paly students have our children (yes children because they are not adults) in the Paly pool at some time due to swimming being part of the PE curriculum. Therefore it is important for all of us to know what sort of safety rules are invoked for any Paly swim activity.

Secondly, the students all know rumors mixed with details and are talking about it directly and through social networking. It is therefore sensible for the school and local media to inform on the facts to prevent incorrect information being passed on as facts.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm

@ Jerry:

I will say it again - the student tried an unsafe stunt without the knowledge or approval of the coaching staff.

How do I know this? My kid is on the team.

The stunt had nothing to do with the workout or practice plan. The team does not practice underwater endurance/breath-holding swims - ever. The student attempted the stunt without telling the staff and in a manner so that they would not notice right away.

The kid made a mistake in judgment. We are all very thankful that the team & staff responded and saved this kid's life!

The accident had nothing to do with extreme training methods, number of hours in the pool, number of yards per workout, etc. The kid tried a stunt when the coaches weren't looking and without their approval. To say anything different is totally misinformed and an outright lie.

If you want to crusade on CIF rules, by all means go for it. Good luck with that. Just stop trying to associate the accident with your personal agenda - because there is absolutely no link at all.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Jerry please explain:

How does a " student attempt a stunt in a manner so they would not notice right away?"

How does a " kid try a stunt when the coaches weren't looking?"


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

@Dad

" the student tried an unsafe stunt without the knowledge or approval of the coaching staff. "

Was this "stunt" in any way related to a presumption, on his part, that it would make him a better swimmer...or was it macho/daredevil horseplay?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

The latter. Though "macho" is probably too strong of a term.

BTW - the kid is doing fine, is home and hopes to return to school very, very soon.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

@ Dad,

Very happy that he is recovering.

Was his "stunt" related to holding his breath underwater? Did any of his male swim team buddies know that something was going on?

When my daughter was on the team, the girls did not egg each other on, in the pool, but the boys did...typical high school male stuff.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I don't know the answers at that level of detail. My kid was not in that lane that day.

Typical HS male stuff is a perfect description.


Posted by George, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm

> I am so thankful that Paly requires CPR certification
> as a graduation requirement!

Is this true?

How long has it been true?


Posted by George, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm

PAUSD Graduation Requirements:
Web Link

Ok .. seems it's true.

This is great. But if it's true, when is this skill taught? Do kids on the swim team need to be proficient in CPR before they can use the pool?

Well .. CPR is really important for every one.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm

@ Dad,

Probably, something was known ahead of time...a male challenge thing?

BTW, I don't mean to let the girls off the hook...some very nasty, catty stuff going on, but not on the swim deck...mostly at noon, and after school time (e.g. "your suit is too tight for your butt; my boyfirend is at my meets, where is yours?"). However, the girl stuff is usually not life-threatening. The boy stuff can be life-threatening. It is all a form of bullying, and it is not particular to sports.

My issue is that the 'boy stuff' is brought on by the adults who promote an extreme practice culture. Why would any boy accept a challenge to hold his breath under the water (if that is what it was)? HS swim teams need to be tamed. The kids cannot do it, but the adults can.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Jerry - you ask "why would any boy accept a challenge to hold his breath underwater" answer - because he is a boy. It has nothing to do with age, my son was holding "hold your breath" contests in 4th grade (with supervision, luckily).

Fred - kids drown all the time at parties surrounded by parents. If you are at the bottom of the pool, its harder to be spotted.

Accidentals (and dares) happen. Thank you to the Paly staff for taking care of this student.


Posted by George, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Why are people concerned about this incident, and believe that the PAUSD should have issued a statement?

Well .. here's what the CDC has to say on the matter of pools, and the deaths of young people in pools--

Unintentional Drowning: Fact Sheet:
Web Link

Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning. Of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages, and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14 years.1
---

It's not exactly clear just how much supervision there is at these school pools. That's why we're concerned.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm

My experience with male HS athletes these days steers me towards "the not planned and not thought out very well" scenario. Not a surprise to most!

I've only (briefly) been to 1 practice this year (dropped off drinks/food). Don't know if this is different than your experience, but the teams practice co-ed now. Boys/Girls varsity then the JVs come in afterwards. The genders are separated with the girls on one side of the pool and the boys on another (18 lanes total, 9 lanes per gender).

To be honest, I really don't think the current coaching staff is the type that would promote the things you worry about. Especially since the workouts are co-ed these days. Plus the head coach is a youth minister by day, leads missions to Mexico to build schools, etc. Not exactly the macho, bullying type of guy. The assistant had 2 daughters recently go through the program. The JV coaches are both current Stanford students and swam for their respective girls HS teams.

I volunteer at the meets - the only yelling I have seen from the coaches have been words of encouragement during races, "Go so-and-so", etc. Very positive coaching environment. The after race consultations seem to lean very much towards learning from their race experience, technique, mental focus, etc.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 5:44 pm

@ mom

"Jerry - you ask "why would any boy accept a challenge to hold his breath underwater" answer - because he is a boy. It has nothing to do with age, my son was holding "hold your breath" contests in 4th grade (with supervision, luckily)."

The instinct may be there, but the intensity is not for a 4th grader. Pre-pubescent boys can be eager to accept a challenge, but they they will come up for a breath, even though they may feel humiliated. Post-pubescent boys (young men with a lot to prove), will not come up for a breath. Huge difference.

Humans do not have gills. Modern HS swim teams seem to think that they do. These kids need to have some protection from the adults that force them into extreme training regimens, which also provide a cultural environment that suggests that severe "stunts" are OK.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 9:43 pm

@George: CPR is taught as part of a requirement in Living Skills class, the state-mandated class students need to graduate. However, simply taking one class isn't going to glue the knowledge onto the brain where a person can remember and act upon it in an emergency situation.


Posted by C, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

What Crescent Park Dad has said is correct in reference to the event. As for those who complained about the "half story," it is a short story because of the will of the person who almost drowned. He did not want this to be high profile -- partly the reason why nearly no one knew about the incident the next day at school. The swim team agreed to keep it a secret, or try to.

And "Mom" -- Living Skills is NOT a state mandated course. It is a district mandated course. Also, CPR is being taught outside of class (mandatory, on various monday/wednesday pairings throughout the year) by a Red Cross Certified instructor. This will change next year and CPR will be incorporated into the LS curriculum. But since you mentioned LS -- the class has nothing to do about living: It is about how the media is monopolized, big corporations are bad, racism exists, and religion and how spirituality and religion aren't the same. I'm all for changing the curriculum too...


Posted by Mark Higgins, a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Good job Danny for saving a life, and nice job to the swim team for catching the problem quickly.

And to those who are calling for the making HS swimming less intense reconsider.
competitive swimming is quite safe, and with a vigilant team looking out for each other it would be hard to drown. the fact that the athlete was pulled from the water after only 90 seconds illustrates this point. side note: the average human can spend 4 minutes + in a blackout condition underwater without brain damage not to mention a well conditioned high school swimmer. hypoxic work is an important part of every swimmers training regiment and to take it away because of the possibility of blackout is foolish.
secondly to insinuate that the adults are pushing the kids too hard is ignorant. as a high school swimmer I would have been offended at anyone accusing me of trying hard because of anyone's actions besides my self. the coaches simply provide direction and guidance. these athletes are self motivated and free to leave when ever they want, join junior varsity, or simply slack off in practice.
that being said safety must never be ignored or underestimated. if you want to try a dynamic apnea be sure that you know what you're doing and always have a spotter there to pull you up immediately if you pass out. a 75 meter dynamic apnea is completely possibly for any high school swimmer in good shape, but attempting to preform apnea without first leaning proper technique is dangerous and leads to close calls like these.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Mar 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

@Mark,

Keep going, you are making my point.

"hypoxic work is an important part of every swimmers training regiment and to take it away because of the possibility of blackout is foolish"

" to insinuate that the adults are pushing the kids too hard is ignorant".

The adults should be in charge, not the kids. The job of the adults is to keep it sane, no matter how much a teenage red hot swimmer wants to push the limits.

" a 75 meter dynamic apnea is completely possibly for any high school swimmer in good shape"

Even if the kid is asthmatic? Or has below average lung capacity?

Are you saying that "dynamic apnea" was in play here, Mark?

BTW, Mark, what is the typical training yardage, per week, for freestyle, prior to competitive meets?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 31, 2012 at 7:24 pm

More details:

The time between the student stopping underwater (passing out) and getting pulled up on the deck was 15 seconds. Apparently a couple of team mates were watching the underwater swim attempt and acted promptly when they observed trouble. From there it took about 75 seconds of assessment and initiating CPR to revive the victim.

The victim *was not* on the bottom of the pool for 90 seconds as speculated by someone earlier in this thread.


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