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Watertown teen’s parents file suit over near-drowning incident at Fort Drum pool

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The parents of a Watertown teenager who suffered brain damage when he nearly drowned at a Fort Drum pool in April 2013 have filed suit against the organizations with whom the youth was practicing at the time.

William D. and Andrea T. Marilley, parents of Andrew W. Marilley, filed state Supreme Court action Tuesday at the Jefferson County clerk’s office against Swim Strong Aquatic Club, Fort Drum, and USA Swimming, Colorado Springs, Colo.

According to court documents, Andrew was attending a Swim Strong practice at the pool in the Magrath Sports Complex on April 18 when he lost consciousness for unknown reasons, resulting in his remaining unattended at the bottom of the pool for an extended period of time. It is claimed that this caused severe oxygen deprivation and cessation of vital bodily functions, an emergency situation the defendants allegedly lacked the proper medical equipment with which to deal.

Subsequently, Andrew underwent cardiac pulmonary resuscitation and laryngeal tubation and was taken by helicopter to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. As result of the incident, the youth suffered and continues to suffer brain damage, cognitive injuries, difficulty processing language, respiratory problems, psychological trauma and ongoing pain and suffering, according to the suit.

It is claimed that the injuries resulted from, among other things, the defendants’ negligence in failing to maintain the pool in a safe condition and provide users with a safe environment, as well as failing to provide adequate medical equipment and devices for resuscitation use in such an emergency. It is further claimed the defendants failed to train coaches, lifeguards and other personnel who supervise practices about potential dangers and how to avoid them.

The family claims it has incurred and will continue to incur medical expenses stemming from the incident. The suit does not specify an amount being sought in damages. The family is represented in the action by Syracuse attorney Anthony R. Martoccia.

A military investigation of the incident was conducted and no evidence of negligence or liability was found on the part of any government personnel, with the pool remaining in use. Andrew has since returned to swimming, joining the Camillus Swim Club, also a competitive USA Swimming team.

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