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Devastating impact of near-drowning can last a lifetime - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Devastating impact of near-drowning can last a lifetime

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August is "Drowning Impact Awareness Month."  It's a time for our community to remember the devastating effects of fatal water incidents. But, a near-drowning, can also be life-changing.

“At one point, the neurologist asked us to decide if we turn-off the machines. Basically, let him go, or let him live,” Angie Thomas told the News 4 Tucson Lifesavers.

For Angie, it was one horrific day ten years ago that changed not only her life, but the life of her then two-year-old son, Ryan.

Ryan will never be a normal kid – adult,” Angie said “He understands. The only problem is - he doesn't speak. He can't speak. He babbles, but there are no words”

Ryan and his young friend were playing, when both young boys nearly drowned in a backyard pool in Sierra Vista. It happened even though there was a solid barrier in place.

“It was a six-foot brick wall. He was two, almost three, and he climbed that brick wall, and got over that wall,” Angie told the News 4 Tucson Lifesavers.

The accident had devastating effects on Ryan. It’s an impact that will last a lifetime.

“Doctor Visits, treatments, we had a surgery last year for his legs, we're going to have another on this year. So, it's probably never going to stop,” Angie said.

No matter the obstacles, Ryan is making progress. He’s moving on from elementary, and into middle school. Above all, he’s being a kid.

“Look at him. He's happy. He's a happy kid,” Angie said.

Tracy Koslowski, with Drexel Heights Fire tells the News 4 Tucson Lifesavers, even though summer break is over for kids, water safety never takes a break.

“Drowning is a year-round issue in our community, so we need to be vigilant every month of the year,” Koslowski said. “We always say the more layers of protection you have, the safer your children will be.”

“Watch your kids when they're in the water. If they can't swim 100%, watch them,” added Angie.

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