CPR | Dad’s quick thinking and CPR save his son after near-drowning experience



By Gina Mayfield


In May 2019, just as San Antonio, Texas, started to heat up for the summer, Adam Biechlin decided to take his two kids for a swim while his girlfriend, Jennifer, finished making dinner. As he was heading out the door, he had a fleeting thought that barely registered in his mind: It’s always better not to be outnumbered by kids at the pool. And off they went.


That day, wind ripped around the 21-floor condominium tower where Jennifer lives, but Adam made it to the ground floor pool where he watched his 5-year-old daughter, Eleanor, do handstands in the water and played catch with his 3-year-old son, Max.


Eventually, Jennifer texted to say dinner was ready, and Adam called for both kids and watched them come running out of the water. He began collecting their belongings, which the wind had strewn across a small area, when Eleanor asked for just one more “Watch this, Dad!” moment.


Adam, who had turned his back for a few seconds knowing both kids had cleared the pool, turned back around. Then it hit him.


“I didn’t see Max,” he remembers. “I said, ‘Where’s your brother?’ Eleanor turned completely pale. My heart just sank. And then it started racing.”

Adam ran toward the pool and found Max floating face first in just 4 feet of water.

“It was an indescribable feeling,” Adam says.


He just remembers thinking, ”This is not happening. This can’t happen. This is not going to happen.”


Adam pulled Max from the pool. “He was like a sack of potatoes. His face was white, his eyes were closed, his lips were blue,” Adam says. “I just started screaming at the top of my lungs for someone to call 911.” But there wasn’t anybody around. “I had to do something,” he says.


Adam laid Max on the ground and began performing CPR. Turns out Adam’s cousin is married to longtime American Heart Association employee, Kelly Griesenbeck Carter, who had offered Adam and other relatives an Infant CPR class right before Eleanor was born. Everything he learned that day came rushing back to him.

After several attempts to revive Max, nothing seemed to help. So, Adam scooped him up and ran through a gate into a patio area where they found an elderly doctor they knew.


Once again Adam laid Max on the ground and began chest compressions, while the doctor stood watch.


“Keep going Dad, you’re doing alright,” the doctor said.

Then it happened. Max projectile vomited the Slurpee he had enjoyed earlier that day all over Adam.