The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

June 4, 2014

Heroic brother saves drowning sister

HOOPESTON — In the minds of many, summer and hot temperatures equal cooling off in the nearest swimming pool.

The chance to escape the heat turned into a moment of action for Vermilion County 9-year-old Owen McCormick last week when he went swimming in the family pool with his sister, 7-year-old Maya.

His mom, Jamee Sprague, said the two children had gone outside to get in the pool while their dad mowed the yard and she worked inside. Suddenly, she heard a “panicked scream” from Owen for his dad. Sprague rushed outside to discover Maya, who is epileptic, having a seizure in the water.

Owen told his parents he jumped in and swam over to his sister, keeping her above water and getting her to the side of the pool. Sprague said Maya’s seizure continued as her brother worked to get her to the side of the pool.

Maya was given emergency medication and taken to the hospital for treatment. Sprague said the 7-year-old recovered from the incident without problems.

While not every situation will involve a medical problem, there are a number of rules to follow when it comes to pool safety and swimming in general.

According to the American Red Cross, there are several precautions that that can be taken, beginning with never swimming alone and always following the buddy system when getting into the water.

In addition, it is suggested that everyone in a family learn how to swim well or use appropriate life jackets. Supervision also is recommended.

According to Sprague, Owen was very “nonchalant” about his heroics. The proud mother explained to her son just how important his actions were in saving his sister.

“I asked him, ‘Do you know what you just did for her?’” Sprague said. “You did the right thing. He said he didn’t really think about it.”

The parents had continually explained to Owen what to do if he was the only one around when a seizure happened. But this was only the second time Owen had seen an epileptic seizure. He ran away the first time he saw one, making his actions “shocking” to his parents, Sprague said.

“We’re very proud of him,” she said.



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