Despite never having attempted the technique before, the 10-year-old recalled seeing it in two movies he and his brother have watched many times.
Brad Hassig was swimming with his 10-year-old twin sons and their 11-year-old neighbor in his family's backyard pool in Mountain Brook, Alabama, one Tuesday afternoon last month when he decided to do underwater breathing exercises. As a calming technique, the 46-year-old would go underwater and hold his breath for about a minute before resurfacing. "It's relaxing. I love doing breathing exercises," Hassig, who owns his own chiropractic practice, told The Washington Post. "I just like the peace of being underwater." However, unlike other times when he's done the ritual without any problems, on June 14, the father-of-three suddenly started to drown in front of the young boys.
"I'm so proud of my boys. I tell them, 'Remember you guys are heroes,' and I will be grateful to them forever." https://t.co/7JVwANmxnF— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 3, 2022
At about 4 p.m. that day, Hassig—who was the only adult at home at the time as his wife was at work—lost consciousness 5 feet below the surface. It's unclear exactly how long he was submerged, but the boys were quick to notice. Christian, his son, put on his goggles and saw his father slumped over on his side, lifeless at the bottom of the pool. "I could see his face was starting to turn blue," Christian recalled. "It was very scary." The youngster also remembers yelling "Daddy's not okay" between tears. From then on, Christian revealed, "we were just focusing on saving our dad's life."
Hero 10-Year-Old Twins Save Dad From Drowning Using CPR They Saw in Movies https://t.co/1cr0sWvaAp— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) June 30, 2022
Christian and his twin brother, Bridon, along with their neighbor, Sam Ebert, pulled Hassig—who weighs about 185 pounds—up by the shoulders and managed to bring him over to the pool steps. Since none of them had phones and their unconscious dad's phone was locked, Christian ran to the street to find help. Meanwhile, Bridon began cardiopulmonary resuscitation on his father. Although he'd never attempted the technique before, the young boy recalled seeing it in two movies he and his brother have watched many times: "Hook" and "The Sandlot."
A pair of 10-year-old twins, Christian and Bridon Hassig, knew they had to do something but weren't sure what to do. What they ended up doing was save their father's life. @BobbyPoitevint has more on the story.https://t.co/hk2LSm1Mvc— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) July 2, 2022
Bridon revealed that although he was "overwhelmed and panicked" in the moment, he decided to try what he'd seen on the screen, first leaning his father's head back, then doing chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth as best he could. "I just knew I need to do this," he said. "It was probably the most emotional time of my life." Shortly after the youngster began administering mouth-to-mouth, Hassig gained consciousness and coughed up foam, blood and water. Paramedics arrived at the scene minutes later as Christian had managed to flag down a passing driver and dialed 911.
Their dad was drowning. They saved him using CPR they saw in movie scenes. https://t.co/uCBA8LanLf— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 6, 2022
Hearing the sirens, a cardiologist neighbor rushed over to the family's home and assisted in taking Hassig's pulse and moving him from the pool steps to the deck. "It was just chaos," when he opened his eyes after the distressing event, Hassig recalled. "There were people everywhere." He was taken by ambulance to Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was diagnosed with hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the body's tissues), pulmonary edema (fluid buildup in the lungs) and shortness of breath, caused by the extended time period Hassig spent without oxygen.
Hassig, who is expected to make a full recovery, explained that the incident was not triggered by an underlying condition but the result of his heart rate and blood pressure dropping rapidly underwater. He was released to continue his recovery at home after being monitored in the cardiovascular intensive care unit for 24 hours. Hassig's experience was similar to that of Olympic swimmer Anita Alvarez who lost consciousness and failed to resurface during the FINA World Aquatic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, last month. Dramatic pictures of her coach, Andrea Fuentes, jumping in after the 25-year-old artistic swimmer and rescuing her went viral across the internet.
I spoke with USA artistic swimming head coach and 4x Olympic medalist @andreafuentes83 about saving Anita Alvarez who fainted during competition.— Toyloy Brown III (@TJ3rd_) July 2, 2022
Fuentes also explained what she hopes people take away from the situationhttps://t.co/AVX51wgDgl
"I saw that, and thinking of her experience, it made me cry, but it also made me grateful," Hassig said of the Fuentes incident which happened just over a week after he was rescued by his sons. Although he is still recovering mentally and physically from the traumatic ordeal, Hassig is determined not to let it stop his sons and their friend from swimming again. He got back in the pool only about a week after he nearly drowned in it to show the boys that they didn't have to fear the water. "I've got to do this. I've got to show my boys that you're brave, you face your fears, and you go on," he said, revealing that the kids felt comfortable swimming again as soon as he dunked his head. "I'm glad I did that."
“I just had a moment when Jesus was sitting right behind us the whole time. There’s no way we should have been able to do that.”— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) July 3, 2022
MORE: https://t.co/6k9rszfhSf pic.twitter.com/c2BVodlYES
"The boys are heroes for what they did. My 10-year-old untrained boys and their 11-year-old untrained friend, they didn't freeze," he added. Hassig, who also has a 14-year-old daughter, is also grateful for the overwhelming support he has received from others. "It's humbling that your kids saved your life, but then you see friends, neighbors and the community. People brought meals and prayers and get-well cards," he said. "To see that people care, that's been amazing." He is currently in the process of organizing a community-wide CPR training course for adults and children to "potentially be able to save another life" by raising awareness. "It's really important because you never know if that could happen to you," Christian said. "It helps to know what to do."