SWBP Recognized During Miami Heat Game

Right to left: Rhonda Milner, Dusty Milner, and Sheryl Woods, CEO of YMCA of South Florida

Right to left: Rhonda Milner, Dusty Milner, and Sheryl Woods, CEO of YMCA of South Florida

On April 5, 2016, the YMCA of South Florida joined with the Miami Heat to raise awareness about unintentional drownings due to shallow water blackout.  Rhonda and Dusty Milner (founders of Shallow Water Blackout Prevention) were recognized at center court for their hard work and dedication to raising awareness about the dangers of shallow water blackout.  The YMCA and US Coast Guard both warned of the dangers of breath-holding at a press conference, and recognized our non-profit organization and the story of losing Whitner to SWB.  They also provided information to viewers on how to find our website for more information on SWB. This part of Florida has the most drownings per year in the entire U.S. so we greatly appreciate the YMCA,  the Miami Heat and the US Coast Guard for helping to save lives. 

Special thanks to Todd Lutes of the US Coast Guard, and Sheryl Wood, CEO of the YMCA South Florida.

Aquatics Safety Research Group Releases Newest Lifeguard Video: shows why Lifeguards Can’t See – Visually and Mentally

Lifeguards, parents, and other human supervisors continue to miss drowning victims in the water. Who is to blame – Lifeguards? Parents? From decades of drowning prevention research and experience, the new Complex Quadriplex of Lifeguard Blindness video reveals a  hidden culprit – the perils of human sight and cognition.  

 Aquatic Safety Research Group’s brand new Lifeguard Blindness educational video illustrates the four most significant challenges that lifeguards and other supervisors face around the water. More significantly, this video provides strategies to strengthen supervision and supplement supervision with simple and affordable lifesaving strategies.

The four challenges presented include external distractions, internal noise, cognitive body blindness, and perceptual body blindness. Learning about these hidden lifeguard “blindfolds” will raise awareness of these challenges, saving lives in, on, and around the water. This 27 minute video is perfect for lifeguard in-service training and can be viewed one section at time - a must see video for every lifeguard!

The new CQLB – Complex Quadriplex of Lifeguard Blindness video is available with a limited pre-order special at aquaticsafetygroup.com or streaming on demand for 6-month rental or purchase at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cqlb

and for more information contact
Rachel Griffiths at [email protected]

Sarasota Aquatics Center Releases Statement After Drowning Incident

The Selby Aquatic Center released a statement in regards Ramsdens’ death: 

“Every year for the last seventy years, thousands have arrived at our YMCA and our expectations were that they would have a wonderful experience during their stay.

Unfortunately, there was an aquatic emergency Saturday at the Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA Branch Pool and a 21-year-old guest passed away after being extracted from the pool by our lifeguards.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man’s family at this time. This event is nearly impossible to comprehend, and he and his family are in our hearts.

It is important for all to know that, as is our custom, we are immediately launching an investigation into the incident and are cooperating with all local authorities in their investigations.

Out of respect for the family, we ask that you honor their privacy at this difficult time. Again, I’m sure you join us in offering your prayers to this man and his family.”


Rhonda Milner's Interview With ABC News: Elite Swimmer Tate Ramsden's Death Spotlights Dangers of ‘Shallow Water Blackout’

Tate Ramsden via ABC News

Tate Ramsden via ABC News

via ABCNEWS.go.com

The death of an elite college swimmer has drawn attention to a dangerous condition called "shallow water blackout," which can threaten even the most skilled swimmers.

Tate Ramsden, 21, died this week while doing laps at a YMCA in Sarasota, Florida, according to a police report. Despite being a member of the Dartmouth swim team, Ramsden had to be pulled from the pool by lifeguards who attempted to save his life.

The student had already swum 4,000 yards when he attempted to swim four additional laps without taking a single breath, police said. Competitive swimmers train to take a minimal number of breaths in order to swim faster.

But such training without breathing can lead to a dangerous condition called "shallow water blackout."

It can occur when swimmers hold their breath until they blackout, after which the body forces a breath and inhales water. The severe lack of oxygen can lead people to blackout "without warning" so they don't surface for air before becoming incapacitated, according to the Shallow Water Blackout Prevention Organization.

Dr. Rhonda Milner, a retired radiologist and founder of the organization, said it's key for advanced swimmers to understand that extreme training can be dangerous without proper supervision.

"It's another tragic event; it's completely preventable," Milner told ABC News today. "One of my current concerns, he was an excellent swimmer; he didn't understand that he was putting himself at risk."

Milner pointed out that if swimmers hyperventilate before breathing, their bodies may not build up the carbon dioxide that signals the body to take a breath, meaning they can pass out before they realize there's a problem.

The same problem can occur if a swimmer works out with few breaths, leading to insufficient oxygen levels.

"You can ignore your urge to breathe; you get endorphins," like a runner's high, Milner said. "You're set up for really putting yourself at risk."

Milner, who started the foundation after her son died from a shallow water blackout-related drowning, said coaches must warn swimmers to be careful about trying to hold their breath for extended periods of time and not rely on lifeguards, who may not be used to seeing such cases.

"It should only be done in practice where they're really closely watched," Milner said.

Ramsden's family released a statement mourning the young swimmer.

"His capacity for love for his family and friends was his great gift,” they said, “and we truly cherished every moment we shared together.”

To view original article click here.

Dartmouth Swimmer Drowns, likely shallow water blackout

Tate Ramsden, Dartmouth

Tate Ramsden, Dartmouth

via NBC News

A Dartmouth College swimmer died after trying to swim four laps underwater without breathing while on vacation in Florida, authorities said Monday.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's office said Tate Ramsden, 21, was in the area with his family and had gone to the YMCA Selby Aquatic Center to swim laps on Dec. 26.

Ramsden swam around 4,000 yards — over two and a quarter miles — before attempting an underwater swimming technique called a "100," which is four laps across the pool without coming up for air, according to a sheriff's office incident report released Monday.

During this routine, his sister and cousin noticed a "lack of movement" by Ramsden and he was pulled from the water. He was given CPR and paramedics were called, but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and the 21-year-old was declared dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office said his death was a "possible drowning" but an autopsy was pending.

Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon said Ramsden — part of the Class of 2017 — was a member of the swim team, the diving team and the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity at the New Hampshire school.

"We have been in touch with Tate's family to share our deepest sympathies with them at this time of heartbreaking loss," he said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Tate's family and friends at this time of great sadness." 

Incident Details via Good Morning America

Drowning Deaths of Two Navy SEALs Were Due to Shallow Water Blackout

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Brett Allen Marihugh, 34, of Livonia died April 24,2015.  A group of trainees found him and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Seth Cody Lewis of Queens, New York, at the bottom of a combat training pool. Lewis also died.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Brett Allen Marihugh, 34, of Livonia died April 24,2015.  A group of trainees found him and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Seth Cody Lewis of Queens, New York, at the bottom of a combat training pool. Lewis also died.

The Detroit News has obtained a copy of the results of the Navy's formal investigation of the drownings of two Navy SEAL's at a naval training facility in Virginia this past April.

Please view their informative article about the results of the investigation here

Highlights include:

- Cause of deaths have been ruled as shallow water blackout

- The Navy will now require a lifeguard or first-class swimmer to be present on deck at Naval Special Warfare pools for all conditioning swims other than laps. 

- Signs will be posted in pool facilities expressly prohibiting breath-holding.

- Rear Admiral B.L. Losey, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, has ordered a review of all training requiring breath-holding for compliance with safety standards, and for inspections at pool facilities to ensure the proper posting of emergency-response plans and equipment.

- Technically they were abiding by the "two man rule" so their deaths were not due to misconduct, as ruled by the Navy.

“Our commitment to be the best and push ourselves to ever higher levels of proficiency must be tempered by safety compliance that is often learned from a past tragedy like this one,” Rear Admiral B.L. Losey, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, wrote in an Aug. 14 letter accompanying the investigation. “Overconfidence is an ever-present risk factor.”

Our deepest condolences to the families of these true American heroes.  

Proposed Regulation for Pool Signage in NYC

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has published a draft regulation that would require all swimming pool operators in NYC to post a sign with a specific image alerting swimmers that underwater breath-holding is dangerous and prohibited.

The department is accepting comments on the proposed regulation
until November 24, 2015, and welcomes our input.

Please click on the link below to comment on the proposed
regulation and show YOUR support.
Lives will be saved!


View more details about the proposed regulation here.

Even Leisure Pools Need Signage

This month Shallow Water Blackout Prevention is petitioning several pool clubs in the Greater Atlanta area to post signage on their pool decks to warn patrons about the dangers of prolonged underwater breath-holding.

A great friend sent us this photo of a sign that was recently posted at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta, Ga.  We applaud the folks at this club for setting the standard in pool safety.  

photo courtesy of Carolyn Wills

photo courtesy of Carolyn Wills

We ask that all of our friends and followers consider petitioning YOUR area pool clubs to do the same.  If you would like an official letter request sent from our organization to a club or group in your area, please email your requests to [email protected] 

Have you seen a SWB warning sign at your pool?
Snap a photo!
Email to [email protected]