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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently published an article: Fatal and Nonfatal Drowning Outcomes Related to Dangerous Underwater Breath-Holding Behaviors New York State, 19882011.
This report identifies dangerous underwater breath-holding behaviors (DUBBs) that increase the risk of breath-hold blackout and drowning. Three DUBBs included: intentional hyperventilation before submerging/swimming; attempting breath-holding for as long as possible while underwater; and hypoxic training (prolonged underwater swimming or extended breath-hold intervals. Hyperventilation and hypoxic training were seen mostly in experienced swimmers.
Swimmers and coaches need to be aware that these DUBBs are associated with blackout and drowning and so should be avoided.

--Jane Moore

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