SARASOTA, Fla. (WANE) – Indiana University football player and Homestead grad Isaac Griffith was moved out of intensive care Friday afternoon at Sarasota Memorial Hospital according to his father Shannon just days after he almost drowned.
Griffith got caught in a rip current while swimming at Siesta Beach in Sarasota County, Florida during spring break.
At a Friday morning news conference, Dr. Kenneth Hurwitz, MD credited Isaac’s friends for getting him out of the water as quickly as they did. According to Dr. Hurwitz, severe brain injury and permanent disability can occur if a person goes without oxygen for as little as five minutes. Dr. Hurwitz termed the actions of Mitch McCune, Ty Smith and Nick Stoner as “heroic.”
McCune was able to pull Griffith out of the water after the current had taken him about 15 yards beyond the swim buoy. Once on shore, the three friends performed CPR until medics arrived.
“A lot of the credit goes to his friends. They put themselves at serious risk to help him. Two or three minutes longer and it would have been a different story,” said Dr. Hurwitz.
An emotional Shannon Griffith also spoke at the news conference and described how he felt when he got the news from his wife when she called him at about 6 p.m. on Monday.
“It dropped me to my knees. It was the worst call I ever got in my life,” said Shannon. “Not too many people walk away from that. Because of his physical conditioning, the daily regimen, the cardiovascular and strength training, good nutrition – all those things, that’s how we win football games. For me, now, that’s how you save your life.”
The family had been aware of the dangers of rip currents from past vacations to Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Even though he’s out of intensive care, Griffith remains in serious but stable condition and is breathing on his own after having a ventilator removed on Wednesday. He walked on Friday and is eating on a limited basis. Doctors continue to monitor and treat him for pneumonia, lung damage and the risk of infection from salt water that was trapped in his lungs. His prognosis for a full recovery is very good and he could be discharged from the hospital in a couple of days and will be able to continue his recuperation at home.
Griffith’s father, Shannon has been tweeting updates about his son the entire week.
— Shannon Griffith (@MUCoachGriff) March 21, 2014
On Thursday night, Shannon Griffith tweeted that Issac was able to see some visitors and was smiling and laughing with everyone.
Isaac Griffith graduated from Homestead High School in 2013. He had a stellar football career that led to his recruitment and eventual signing with Indiana University.