The Miami Herald reports of an interview with a freediving student, Jim Mascara, of Spearfishing Store in Naples (Florida). Mr. Mascara comments how he was encouraged to hold his breath during training with thefreediving training agency until reaching a state of hypoxia, leading to a blackout.
The instructor, world record-holder Martin Stepanek and owner of FIT, used the incident as a teaching tool for the 12-person class.
Mr. Stepanek allegedly said ”It’s something I prefer to see in a class because people will see it’s a real thing,”
“Blackout is a protective mechanism against brain damage. You go unconscious when oxygen is low. Your brain shuts off functions so you go to sleep. The important part is to protect the airway, put their face out of the water, and the person will wake up. There’s never a need to resuscitate anyone or send them to the hospital.”
Martin Stepanek, aged 30, operates Fort Lauderdale-based Freediving Instructors and Trainers (FIT), with his business partner Paul Kotik. FIT offers training at all levels of experience, ability and ambition – from beginners to world-class competitors. Mr. Mascara was revived quickly after his blackout and continued the training session, achieving a 90 foot dive during the open water session.
For the original story see thearticle by Susan Cocking.
Edit 20-12-07: A direct report from Mr. Mascara reveals that in effect he was not pushed into a blackout, rather it was of his own doing. Mr. Mascara told Deeperblue that "The reason for the BO is that I was really pushing my personal limits so I could achieve the 5:00 static breath hold which is one of the minimum requirements for becoming a freediving instructor."