As told by his mother, Teresa Thomas
On July 2, 2014, my then 14 year old son, Bailey almost drowned to shallow water blackout. He is an excellent swimmer and athlete and we have always been so cautious with water safety, but we were unaware of the danger of breath holding. Many times, I have timed my kids with my iPhone to see how long they could hold their breath underwater. I did this as a child. On July 2nd, my three kids, ages 9-14 and their two cousins, ages 13 and 18 were swimming in a family pool being watched by my mother. The kids were swimming laps and competitively holding their breath to see how long they could stay under. Bailey is very competitive. Silently, Bailey passed out and stayed under the water. My middle child, Parker, saw him under, not moving and his lips were blue. My nephew, Justin, lifted Bailey out of the 4 foot pool and my mom started CPR as 911 was called. With swift response from emergency workers, they stabilized him enough to get to the emergency room and from there he was airlifted to a higher level facility.
Bailey's story is a true miracle from a gracious God. The prayer chain quickly started and we found out in the next few days that hundreds were praying for Bailey from all over the USA and foreign countries. God heard our prayers and Bailey was on the ventilator for 2 days and stayed in the hospital for 7 days and he has made a full recovery. His story was featured on our local news last summer and we were happy that they also did a story on shallow water blackout. Today, as I see my healthy, vibrant 15 year old, almost 16 year old (Bailey's birthday is July 4th), thrive and grow, I am reminded of how different our story could have been. We are so thankful to God for healing our Bailey completely. I write to share out story and to further the education and awareness of the dangers of breath holding. A seemingly simple game can quickly turn deadly. We have learned, through sharing our story, that most people are not aware of the danger. We have been trying to think of a way to further educate our local community and to hopefully prevent other families from having to go through what our family did last summer. We have noticed that most pools do not have signs warning of the danger of shallow water blackout. We decided to purchase pool signs and place them at local pools to commemorate the 1st anniversary of Bailey's accident. We will be putting them up this week at local pools in our area in hopes that the education will spread and more and more people be made aware of the danger.