DANVILLE, Ky. (LEX 18) — It has been one year since the tragic death of 17-year-old Emanuel “Manny” Prewitt, a beloved Madison Central High School football player who drowned while swimming with friends at Herrington Lake in Boyle County.
“He was just everything. He was so kind and gentle and he just always tried to take care of the people that he cared about,” said Kelly Prewitt, Manny’s mom. “He was just a really great person.”
Family and friends will participate in a balloon release at Herrington Lake Thursday afternoon in memory of Manny. Prewitt said the one-year anniversary of her son’s death is difficult and emotional, but she wants to share his story to raise awareness and remind others to be careful as more people start going outside to enjoy the warm weather.
“I mean they just don’t realize it because they’re just going there to hang out and have fun. I mean, we’ve all been there and done that, but I think if we start to teach them at an early age about how important water safety is, I think maybe it might make a difference for some. If it saves one life, it’s totally worth it,” Prewitt said.
Experts with the UK HealthCare are issuing similar caution. Trauma Medical Director Dr. Andrew Bernard said summer marks the beginning of what is known as “trauma season.” This is a six-month period where hospitals experience an influx of patients as the weather begins warming up.
“When people are home we tend to see fewer injuries. As the weather gets nice and people get out and get active, injuries happen,” Dr. Bernard said.
Dr. Bernard said the UK Hospital Trauma Center will treat approximately 3,500 trauma victims in a year. He estimates they will treat between 400 and 500 patients in the month of June.
“Ninety-five-percent of those folks are going to walk out of here, but there is an unlucky one in twenty or so who will likely die from their injuries,” Dr. Bernard said.
The most common injuries at the ER during this time range from car crashes and falls to gunshot wounds and drownings, according to UK HealthCare.
“Be safe out there. Wear your seatbelt, watch the drinking, and easy on the speed,” Dr. Bernard said. “Be smart. Be safe. Enjoy the summer, but be safe.”
Words and sentiments echoed by Kelly Prewitt, who said she will never stop working to raise awareness in honor of Manny.
You can find tips on water safety written by experts from the Kentucky Children's Hospital by visiting here.