Football player in medically induced coma after near drowning of - WFLA News Channel 8

Football player in medically induced coma after near drowning off Siesta Key

Posted: Updated:
Isaac Griffith Isaac Griffith
Siesta Key Beach Siesta Key Beach
SARASOTA, FL (WFLA) -

Indiana University football player Isaac Griffith’s near drowning off Siesta Key prompted doctors to put the 19-year-old in a medically induced coma at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Griffith was swimming at Siesta Key on Monday when a rip current caught him. By the time he was saved, he was unconscious.

Neurologist Dean Sutherland is not treating Griffith, but explained what happens to the brain when a person has been underwater too long.

"The brain needs oxygen in order to function properly, and when you drown, you're not getting oxygen,” Dr. Sutherland said. "It only takes about four minutes to get really serious brain damage to start. The longer that goes on, the worse it is."

"Younger people like kids, especially babies, tend to do better than older people; they don't have as much reserve," Dr. Sutherland continued.

Dr. Sutherland says a medically induced coma is used to help protect the brain from itself.

"One of the things we know is that when the brain first doesn't get oxygen, it sets off some mechanisms to try to save the cells, which are actually counterproductive, and can destroy the cells," said Dr. Sutherland. "We try to reduce that, uh, and the changes in the electrolytes in the brain, by putting people in a coma... cool down the brain so those mechanisms that are actually injurious don't get a chance to get off and running."

Griffith’s friend Mitch McCune performed CPR on him. The sheriff’s report says his breathing was “slow and sporadic”.

In a statement, his family says they are seeing positive signs, and winning small battles.

"The goal is to keep the brain as quiet as you can for as long as possible to allow the repair mechanisms to kind of stabilize," Dr. Sutherland said.

In a statement, the IU Department of Athletics says, "We are aware of Isaac Griffith’s condition. Our prayers are with Isaac and his family and we ask Hoosier Nation to keep the Griffith family in their thoughts."

SNN News 6 contributed to this report.

Copyright WFLA 2014. All rights reserved.



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