Back from the "dead," Del Oro grad survives drowning

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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A 23-year-old Del Oro High School graduate is lucky to be alive after nearly drowning in a Loomis pool. “I was dead. I think for at least two minutes,” said Josh Ryan, who is an accomplished swimmer. Ryan was not breathing and was unconscious when his friends pulled him from the bottom of the pool last Tuesday, but thanks to their prompt response, Ryan is expected to make a full recovery. Ryan’s memory of the time surrounding the event is “fuzzy,” but he and his father, Patrick, have been able to piece together what happened by talking with those on the scene. Ryan, who lives in Roseville, said he had just gotten off work and was hanging out with friends and they were in the pool. He said the three young men were trying to “out-swim” each other doing underwater laps. He said they did not turn the pool light on. His father said Josh Ryan hit his head after his fifth lap and went to the bottom. “I think when he hit his head he gasped and took in water,” Patrick Ryan said. Josh Ryan said neither of his friends knew CPR, but “mimicked” what they’d seen on television shows and called 911. Ryan’s father said the 911 dispatcher was able to coach them through clearing water from his lungs and starting CPR. “He’s lucky that his friends reacted and did what they are supposed to do, even though they didn’t know CPR,” Patrick Ryan said. According to Andy Portillo, spokesperson for Loomis Fire District, dispatch received a call at 2:28 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28, and responded to a home on Elm Court. They arrived at 2:34 a.m. and began CPR, found a pulse and began “rescue breathing.” Portillo said Ryan “was responsive” and was transported by ambulance to Sutter Roseville Medical Center. His father said Josh Ryan spent 30 hours hooked up to a respirator and three days in intensive care, before being released to recover at home. Ryan said he is still recovering and tends to “get worn out easily.” The young man has been left pondering his near-death experience and the lessons to be garnered from it. He said he was taught never to swim alone and feels his accident shows how important that rule is. “It just goes to show you that even good swimmers can drown,” he said. According to Ryan, his two friends are now enrolling in a CPR class. “I think that CPR is something everyone should learn,” he said. Ryan, a 2004 Del Oro graduate, grew up in Loomis and competed on the high school, Loomis Basin Dolphins and Sierra College swim teams. He was also a Dolphins associate coach. He set records in the backstroke both with the Dolphins and Sierra College. He was also named an All-American swimmer while at Sierra. He said he will attend California State University, Sacramento in fall. “I see things differently now. I do have a second lease on life,” he said.