4-year old makes speedy recovers after near-drowning - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

4-year old makes speedy recovers after near-drowning

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BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) -

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

BAINBRIDGE, GA (WALB) –A little girl who nearly drowned after her arm got stuck in a pool drain is now back home in Bainbridge.

It was a freak accident that almost cost Coby James Harper her life.

Now lifeguards are now learning from the terrifying event.

It's what lifeguards train for.

"They scan from shoulder to shoulder and within that scan, just from moving one side to the other, things can happen," explains Diane Atkinson with the Bainbridge Community Center. "It's just the blink of an eye."

And Wednesday morning, the unthinkable happened. 4-year old Coby-James Harper was attending a tennis camp at the Bainbridge Y when somehow, she ended up in a pool with her arm trapped in a drain.

"I feel for them. Matter of fact, I'm about to get goose bumps," Atkinson says about the Y lifeguards. "I know if it was me in that situation, I'd be at home right now still getting over it."

Harper's tennis coach pulled the little girl out of the water, her body discolored and her arm nearly black from the suction. A nearby swimming instructor gave Harper life-saving CPR.

Lifeguards go through extensive and regular training. One of their drills includes being able to quickly spot something as small as a quarter on the bottom of a pool.

"Usually, when they panic, they go right down to the bottom," explains Ron Fowler, one of the head lifeguards at Bainbridge's Community Aquatic Complex. "That's why we scan the bottom."

Lifeguards at Bainbridge's Community Aquatic Center say it can be easy to miss a drowning victim because unlike the movies, drowning doesn't always involve splashing and screams for help.

"You hardly ever see that," Fowler points out. "Most times before you know it, the kid's under water and there's no warning sign."

But now lifeguards are taking this near-drowning as a warning sign to stay more alert.

"Sometimes it's easy to take things for granted," Fowler admits. "And then when you hear something like that it really makes you realize how important your job is."

A job so important, lives, like Harper's, depend on it.

The Y declined to comment on how little Coby Harper ended up in the pool. Harper is expected to make a full recovery.

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