Swimmers, beware of cold water

Swimmers, beware of cold water

Ron Jacobson, an adjunct faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences' Quantitative Methods and Computer Science Department, and his family warn people about the dangers of cold water immersion at this time of year.

Jacobson's grandson, Brian, accidentally drowned on April 30, 2004. He was 9 and was in the family duck boat, trying to retrieve a toy that had floated away from the lakeshore. When he realized that the boat was being blown out farther, he dived into the water to swim back to shore. He didn't make it.

As reported on the television news at the time, the cause of Brian's drowning was not hypothermia. The U.S. Coast Guard said there are two stages before hypothermia sets in: cold shock and swimming failure. Of 58 cold-water drowning deaths examined by the Coast Guard, 44 people had died before hypothermia set in. That is what is believed to have happened to Brian.

Since Brian's death, the family has been promoting awareness of the dangers of cold water, particularly on these warm days of early spring, to young swimmers and others. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proclaimed tomorrow, Saturday, April 5, as Brian James Jacobson Cold Water Awareness Day.

A Web site, www.coldwaterwarning.com, explains the dangers of cold water. Please share it with your family.