Doctors warn of shallow water blackout dangers

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When Dr. Juan Valdivia-Valdivia isn't seeing patients at St. Joseph's hospital in Tampa, the neurosurgeon takes a deep dive into his passion as a free diver. He is one of the best, setting two national records in his native Peru.

"It's almost like a meditation session under water. It's beautiful. Its mind-cleansing," he says.

Juan uses his skill to teach others to stay alive.

"People try to hold their breath for game, playing around and hiding. If they don't do it right, they can black out," he warns.

It's called shallow water blackout. If you blackout in water, even shallow water, with no assistance whatsoever, it's very likely you will die. With water everywhere, Juan says Floridians should know the risks.

He has a two-step prevention plan. First, he says you should never do a breath-hold activity alone. Second, do not hyperventilate, or breathe heavy in and out, before going under water.

"By doing that you are making yourself more prone to having a blackout underwater," Juan says.

Knowing the risk is a matter of survival.

"We have a whole mechanism to be okay underwater for a couple of minutes without being hurt, but that doesn't mean you can push that."