BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Everything went white.
That’s what Brad Hassig, a Mountain Brook-based chiropractor, remembers feeling as he was in the pool with his 10-year-old sons, Christian and Bridon, on June 14. His wife was at work and his daughter was away.
As his boys played basketball in the pool, Hassig would periodically bob underwater, taking a moment to do breathing exercises in the cool, relaxing waters. That’s when during one dunk, everything went blank.
“I didn’t experience anything,” Hassig said. “Everything went white and I thought ‘Am I asleep?”
Hassig said the next thing he remembers is being pulled into the pool deck by his son, Bridon, and their neighbor friend, Sam Ebert. As Christian and Same went to get help, Bridon began doing CPR.
Before that day, Bridon had never done CPR. He had never even been trained to do CPR. The only time he had ever seen it done was in the 1993 movie, “The Sandlot,” where a lifeguard performed the exercise on one of the main characters. After doing this several times, Brad woke up and began coughing up water.
“God’s hand was all over it,” he said.
Going to the hospital later, Hassig believes that his body simply became too relaxed in the pool with his breathing exercises and lost consciousness as he began breathing in water below the surface.
“It’s almost like you can too relaxed and your heart rate gets really low,” he said. “Basically, you pass out.”
While Hassig, 46, is always thinking about the future, he still thinks a lot about what could’ve been. He knows that not all stories have happy endings. He knows things could’ve turned out very differently in the pool that day. However, what he has learned is that his sons will be able to take care of themselves.
“You want to have someone to protect your kids and shelter them,” he said. “Part of it is you are developing them so they can responsibility. It’s reassuring to know they are able to do this. To know they have that confidence, they know God will always be with them.”
Since the family’s close call, the Hassigs’ story has been retold on national platforms like NBC’s “TODAY” and The Washington Post. While the last month has been a whirlwind, Hassig said he remains grateful for each day.
“Whatever time I have left on this earth, it’s because of them,” he said.