Bravery Award for a teenager who saved a life at swimming training

23 October 2017

After achieving his Bronze Medallion over the Christmas holidays, 14-year-old Joel Keeble never expected to put his skills into action quite so quickly. It was in February this year – just a few weeks after his Bronze Medallion training – that Joel saved his 13-year-old swim-squad teammate, Ben.

Joel and Ben were training with their swim squad at Peel Aquatic Swimming Club, when Ben dived into the pool and hit his head. Joel quickly realised that Ben was floating face-down and motionless in the water. Using the skills he’d learnt in completing his Bronze Medallion, Joel swam to Ben’s aid, performing a vice grip and a spinal roll so Ben could breathe.

When Ben said that he couldn’t move his arms and legs, Joel yelled, “Spinal!” alerting everyone at the pool – including the swimming coach – to the situation. Joel continued to support Ben in the water until help arrived.

Ben was carefully taken out of the pool, rushed to Peel Health Campus, and after initial assessment was then transported to Princess Margaret Hospital. He spent a total of 12 days in a hospital bed at PMH before being allowed to leave in a neck brace. He fractured two vertebrae in his neck and had a long recovery path ahead of him, although the great news is that he’s back in the pool now. If it was not for Joel’s quick actions, this story might not have had such a positive outcome.

“If he hadn’t completed his Bronze Medallion, there’s no way Joel would have been so confident in that situation,” Joel’s dad says. “Ben’s now swimming regularly, which is a great result, and is down to the fact that Joel knew how to handle him properly. We’re very, very proud.”

Do you know someone who's saved a life? Why not nominate them for next year's Bravery Awards? Learn more at the link below.

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