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Lifeguards respond quickly to diving accident
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Lifeguards are being praised for their quick work Wednesday at Gilley Pool after a terrifying-looking accident from atop the high dive.
Justin Scott, Wellness and Aquatics manager at Gilley Pool, is proud of his staff and the way lifeguards reacted following the first serious injury at the pool this year.
According to Scott, a 14-year-old boy, who has not been identified, did a back flip off the high dive. The teen went straight up, not out, and came down and struck his face on the board. Blood was gushing from his nose.
The boy was conscious and was able to climb out of the water even though he was dazed.
Matt McColloch, head lifeguard on duty, saw the boy hit from the office window. He grabbed the backboard and started running to the victim even before the first whistle was blown.
Sixteen-year-old lifeguard Zach Vinson was working his fourth day on the job and happened to be stationed at the diving boards when the accident occurred.
“At first, I was nervous and I thought this is pretty serious but then everything I had learned in training classes came back to me,” said Vinson. “Another lifeguard and I blew our whistles to get everyone out of the water. I had the boy tilt his head to stop the bleeding. Matt brought the backboard and we strapped him in.”
“We got some swabs and cleaned his face. We learned in classes how to board someone in case of a neck injury. We also learned how to keep the crowd back and how to manage situations without losing our cool,” said Vinson.
Scott praised the lifeguards for doing a fantastic job. “The lifeguards activated the Emergency Action Plan and had everything under control when I got to the scene. I was in the building in my office when it happened. The lifeguards did a great job. They called 911. They had the crowd under control. The lifeguards backboarded the victim, cleaned the blood, and stabilized the victim before the EMTs were on the scene,” he said.
 The lifeguards also kept the teen comfortable and alert. Scott said, “Any time someone hits their head, they can easily lose consciousness or can be dazed an confused and not know what is going on. Every step the lifeguards took in my opinion was done correctly. They followed the EAP just as they were trained to do.”
Scott said, “First-responders came and checked the boy out. The boy’s father is an EMT who arrived on the scene. The boy actually walked away from here yesterday.” 
According to Scott and Vinson, the paramedics said the lifeguards did everything correctly. They were told there was nothing else they could have done.
Scott said, “I am very proud of my staff and the job they did yesterday. They are young. I have a lot of young guards out here but they are trained how to act in emergency situations. I am very proud of the job they did and the job they will continue to do.”
Scott reported only two serious injuries at the pool last year. The diving boards are a spot where many injuries can occur. Injuries can be caused by running, jumping, slipping, jumping too close to the edge of the diving board and slipping The lifeguards try to keep the deep end clear. “We highly recommend no swimming in the deep end unless you are going off the diving boards,” said Scott. “Anything could happen at any point in this pool. We do not allow diving in shallow water,” Scott said.
There are a total of 22 lifeguards on staff with 10 lifeguards working each day. McColloch and Brian Myers rotate days as head lifeguard.