“Immediately after I jumped, I could tell that I was going to hit the diving board,” said Sophomore Kirsten LaPlant. “I just tried my best to cover my face.”
The growing crowd in the Mound Westonka pool area was sent into a panic as they took in the situation. Voices shot through the crowd crying out, “Somebody call 9-1-1!”
“My coach was talking to me about how I could fix my back dive,” said LaPlant. “And when I tried the new technique, I accidentally shifted my hips so that instead of jumping out I jumped straight up.”
Girls’ Swim and Dive Coach Pam Brophy ran to the scene when she heard the commotion.
“The first thing I saw was Kirsten coming out of the water with her face covered in blood,” Brophy said. “And I noticed that there was this eerie silence amongst the crowd.”
While most of the crowd reached for their phones to dial 9-1-1, one student selflessly swooped into action, trying her best to help out a friend in need.
“I turned around just as she hit the board,” said Senior Mariah Brings. “I glanced over at Tanner [Bauman], our dive coach, and ran over to the edge of the pool to try and find her body underneath the cloud of bubbles. Luckily she was able to get to the surface without passing out.”
As coaches and school administrators gathered around to assess the situation, paramedics began speeding toward the Mound Westonka swim meet.
“I slid my arm around her body and held up her head to stabilize her neck,” said Brings. “And with my other hand I held my towel over her face to stop the bleeding.”
At this point, one of the swim coaches had brought sterile gauze and bandages to help Mariah tend to Kirsten’s wounds.
“Mariah had this look of absolute horror,” Brophy said. “Yet it was remarkable how well she handled the situation.”
Mariah recalls looking down to see herself now covered in Kirsten’s blood.
“I can remember asking Mariah if I still had my teeth,” LaPlant said. “She just kept telling me that everything was going to be okay, and that it wasn’t that bad.”
“Once the paramedics came, they gave me a neck brace to support my head, and put some fresh bandages on my face,” LaPlant said. “Then they checked to make sure I didn’t have any internal bleeding before they put me on a stretcher to go in the ambulance.”
Kirsten’s parents, who were not yet at the meet, were informed of the incident and sped towards the hospital to make sure Kirsten was okay.
“While I was at the Hospital, they ran tests to see if I had any brain or spine damage,” LaPlant said. “I ended up with a fractured jaw and nose, and then they put stitches in my forehead, a concussion, and also a few bruises.”
Kirsten has been participating in the BHS Impact program, which helps monitor injured athletes until they are able to safely continue playing a sport.
“I’m excited to get back into diving,” said LaPlant. “But I definitely won’t be doing that dive for a while.”