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Life has its way of adding perspective, even to those who already cherish the little moments.

What’s truly important?

That’s the question John Newsome, father of Athens Academy freshman Giovanni Newsome, pondered after he was found at the bottom of a pool paralyzed without a pulse and water filling his lungs.

A simple afternoon swim and lunch with his family back in June quickly became a fight for survival after

John hit his head on the bottom of the pool.

The jarring hit to the pool floor caused a C3 vertebrae injury in which John became paralyzed from the neck up. As he began to lose consciousness, he mustered enough energy for a prayer.

“I said, ‘God, if I’m paralyzed so be it, but don’t let me die this way in my backyard with my kids and wife around,’” John recalled. “After that, I blacked out.”

At that moment, John’s wife was preparing lunch while Giovanni thought his father was playing a prank on the family by staying under water for a long time.

Believing something was wrong, John’s friend dived into the pool and Giovanni helped pull his father to the surface. Giovanni began doing mouth-to-mouth while the friend performed chest compressions.

“My heart skipped a beat,” Giovanni said. “I was pretty nervous and scared. I didn’t want to lose him at all. I thought he wasn’t going to make it at first. It was a pretty scary moment.”

John was without a pulse when he was pulled from the water. But with the help of his son, a friend, a neighbor who was a life flight trauma nurse and another neighbor who was a respiratory specialist, John regained consciousness by the time paramedics arrived.

For more on this story, see the Aug. 15 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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