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Sterling’s Story Part 1: A Preventable Tragedy? by Marla Carnes - CrossFit Journal

In CrossFit, HD Videos, Kids

August 29, 2011

Video Article

Marla Carnes is mother to a son who died of drowning in March 2007. CrossFit Kids is teaming up with the Infant Swimming Resource (ISR), which seeks to protect children against drowning through preparedness training.

Marla Carnes shares her son Sterling’s story through pictures of her son at play. She tearfully recounts the day she lost her son. They were at a friend’s house for a baby shower. Although there was a pool, she didn’t think of it as a problem because it was wintertime and her son would be indoors. She gave him plenty of activities and then joined her friends. However, when a mother went to check on the children, Carnes said she heard a scream.

While the other mothers performed CPR on her unresponsive son, Carnes remembers screaming at him: “Wake up, Sterling! Wake up! Open your eyes!”

“And I just was screaming this at him because I didn’t know how loud I needed to be for him to hear me, and I didn’t want him to stop fighting if there was any hope,” she says.

Having to tell her husband that she didn’t know if their son would be OK hit home for her.

“That moment is when I realized how serious and scary this was, and the reality was starting to sink in of what was happening and that I might not see my son again,” she says.

Part 2 and Part 3 will be released on Aug. 30 and 31.

CrossFit Kids supports ISR’s mission that “not one more child drowns.” To find out more, visit

Participate in Fight Gone Bad 6 on Sept. 17, 2011, to support the ISR initiative. Sign up for the fundraiser at and make a donation by texting “FGB6” to 57682. From outside the U.S., text “FGB6” to 4246751014. The minimum donation is $10 and standard text-message rates apply.

15min 05sec

HD file size: 554 MB
SD wmv file size: 295 MB
SD mov file size: 166 MB

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Additional audio: CrossFit Radio Episode 136 by Justin Judkins, published Sept. 8, 2010.

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4 Comments on “Sterling’s Story Part 1: A Preventable Tragedy?”


wrote …

What a nightmare! But every parent should force themselves to watch this. ISR has SAVED LIVES. Find a program near you and teach your children how to save themselves.


wrote …

Just saw the video and as CrossFit referenced Trainer in Italy, I'll do all my best to team up with ISR and bring it to my country to help all children and save them from this nightmare!


wrote …

What a tragic story. Will spreading the word on ISR.

Feel like a jerk for mentioning it, but that background tune was sort of loud while I was watching. It was a little distracting during her story.


wrote …

Dear Marla, there are no words for the grief, but I will act so that your purpose in sharing will be served. Thank you.

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