Ten year-old twin brothers and their neighbor saved their dad from drowning in a backyard pool — with moves they copied from classic movies.
On June 14, Brad Hassig of Mountain Brook, Ala., was hanging out in his pool with sons Christian and Bridon and their 11-year-old neighbor Sam Ebert.
"It was a typical afternoon — we had music on the speakers and I was doing breathing exercises underwater to relax," Hassig, a 46-year-old chiropractor, told TODAY Parents. "I wasn’t pushing myself or trying to be a Navy Seal."
Moments after submerging himself in five feet of water, Hassig lost consciousness.
According to Hassig, Bridon and Sam noticed him slumped over underwater in a cross-legged position and they alerted Christian, who quickly strapped on his goggles and dove underwater.
"Christian said I was on my side and shaking and my head was turning blue," recalled Hassig. "He yelled for Bridon and Sam to jump in and they each grabbed a shoulder and pulled me to the stairs."
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With their mother at work, Christian knocked on neighbors' doors, but no one answered. He eventually ran into the street and flagged down a car, and the driver called 911.
Meanwhile, Bridon started trying to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on his dad, an emergency move involving chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing.
Bridon doesn't have emergency training — but he did recall seeing mouth-to-mouth performed in two movies: "Hook" and "The Sandlot," so he mimicked those moves until the police and ambulance showed up.
A neighbor who is also cardiologist heard police sirens in the area and ran to Hassig's backyard, dragging his body from the pool steps to the deck.
When Hassig regained consciousness, he was coughing up blood, foam and water. He said Christian was by his side begging, "Daddy come back. You have to be OK."
"There were people everywhere," Hassig recalled.
First responders rushed Hassig to the emergency room where doctors admitted him to the cardiac intensive-care unit.
After 24 hours, Hassig's vitals stabilized and he was released from the hospital with a diagnosis of hypoxia (low oxygen in the organs and tissue), pulmonary edema (caused by fluid buildup in the lungs) and shortness of breath.
Hassig still has trouble catching his breath and he has fatigue, but he's getting better.
"I had a follow-up appointment yesterday and my EKG and blood pressure was normal," he said. "I walked my dog for the first time this morning."
Hassig vowed to never do breathing exercises underwater or swim alone again.
"I'm so proud of my boys. I tell them, 'Remember you guys are heroes' and I will be grateful to them forever," said Hassig. "And Sam is such a kind and gentle kid. It's a bond now."
But the dad fights with guilt now too. "My boys saved my life and it's hard because you put them in that position," he noted. "It's confirmation that God is always with you.
Hassig's sons will now take formal CPR training and he gave them cell phones for future emergencies.
"It's a reward but it's also for peace of mind," he explained. "With the Fourth of July coming up, we need (more) water safety awareness."
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