Amherst Co. Teen Meets Heroes Month After Nearly Drowning

Madison Heights, VA - {}With one embrace,{}Bailey Thomas finally meets his heroes.Looking at him now, not knowing his story, a single thought never enters your mind that the teen overcame the most trying part of his young life just weeks ago: a near-death experience.Bailey, his brother and cousins were swimming at a family pool on July 2nd. A normal summer afternoon, Bailey's father Eric Thomas says, each kid competing to see who can hold their breath the longest.Bailey never came up.{}{}{}{}"Very quickly, our middle son [Parker] saw him under," said Teresa Thomas, Bailey's mother. "His lips were blue."Immediately, the family called 911, racing against time to save his life.{}"The patient had becomewas breathing, but was still unconscious at the time," said Gary Roakes, Amherst County public safety director.Teresa and Eric Thomas were at home and work, respectively.{}Both remember the first calls after Bailey's near-drowning experience.{}"The call was frantic. It was, 'Mom, Bailey's not breathing. Mom, Bailey's dead. Bailey's dead,'" said Teresa Thomas."To get a call like that, first of all as a parent, one of your worst calls you can get," said Eric Thomas.Roakes said emergency responders arrived on scene in five minutes, finally getting Bailey to breathe again.He stayed six days in the hospital, even celebrating his birthday there with his parents by his side.{}But the Liberty Christian Academy sophomore has even more to celebrate: the swift response from his extended family."We're just thankful to be a part of it and help you have that second chance at life," Roakes said to Bailey."I told him I don't ever want to see him and hear him say he is lucky. Because he is absolutely a blessing," said{}Kellie Maberry, one of the paramedics who helped save Bailey."It means everything. I mean how quickly they got here," said Bailey. "I didn't remember much of it but just how quickly they got here I was amazed.

"They're my heroes. All of them are heroes."

Bailey says he's 100 percent, but he'll miss this football season due to doctors diagnosing him with a traumatic brain injury. He's still on the team and hopes to play again next year.

According to his parents, Bailey suffered a shallow-water blackout, which is a loss in consciousness because of an insufficient amount of carbon dioxide to keep the body breathing. The teen wants to become an advocate to teach others on the dangers of this issue.