An NFL player just lost his daughter to drowning
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaq Barrett’s 2-year-old daughter, Arrayah, drowned in the family’s swimming pool on Sunday.
Police arrived at the Barrett home at 9:30 a.m. EDT in response to a call that a child had fallen into a pool, according to The Associated Press.
Arrayah was taken to a hospital and was pronounced dead shortly after, despite lifesaving efforts, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
There is an ongoing investigation, but police believe it was “purely accidental” and a “tragic incident,” according to a statement from the Tampa Police Department in the Times.
Arrayah was the youngest of Barrett’s four children, whom he shares with his wife and high school sweetheart, Jordanna. She was born two months after Barrett and the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2021.
“Today’s tragic news is heartbreaking for all members of the Buccaneers family,” the team said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Shaq, Jordanna and the entire Barrett family during this unimaginably difficult time. While no words can provide true comfort at a time such as this, we offer our support and love as they begin to process this very profound loss of their beloved Arrayah.”
Barrett is entering his fifth season with Tampa Bay and his ninth in the NFL.
How to keep your child safe around water
Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 4 years old, and most fatal incidents occur in swimming pools, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the second leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14.
An average of 4,000 drownings occur in the U.S. each year, which is approximately 11 every day, the CDC reported. Almost 400 of those are children, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
On its website, the Utah Drowning Prevention Coalition offers the ABCDs of drowning prevention: adult supervision, barriers, classes and devices.
The coalition asks parents to designate an adult to watch children around swimming pools and spas. The coalition also encourages parents to install barriers such as a five-foot tall, nonclimbable fence with a self-closing gate or security alarms on back doors to alert them when opened.
Parents can take CPR and rescue lessons and enroll their children in swim lessons. The coalition also suggests keeping a phone nearby to quickly call 911 while around water.
While on open bodies of water, everyone, regardless of age or experience level, should wear a lifejacket, the coalition says.
Drowning isn’t only an issue around deep bodies of water. Children can drown in as little as two inches of water, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Parents should drain all bathtubs, kiddie pools and buckets of water before leaving the area.
How the NFL community reacted
Barrett’s former teammate Tom Brady shared a message of support on his Instagram story on Sunday, according to the New York Post.
“The Brady’s love you,” he wrote.
NFL players, teams and media members took to Twitter to show their support for the Barrett family.
Please send a prayer up for Shaq Barrett and his family after the tragic drowning of his 2 year old daughter, Arrayah, in the family pool this morning. Unimaginable tragedy. https://t.co/82ttWz6gVh
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) April 30, 2023
#BroncosCountry is with you, Shaq & the entire Barrett family. 🧡💙 https://t.co/k0DqqfmgM2
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) April 30, 2023
Shaq Barrett is one of the most upbeat, positive people you’ll ever meet. His wife Jordanna is the most loving mother. Their children are such happy kids. They truly love one another and look out for each another. My heart just breaks for them right now. God, please lift them up.
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) May 1, 2023
Praying for you & your family Shaq. https://t.co/kP6oGf2XlZ
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) April 30, 2023
As a dad, I can’t imagine the pain Shaq and the rest of the Barrett family are going through.
Heartbroken for them, sending thoughts and prayers to them. 🙏🏻
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) May 1, 2023
So very sad. My prayers to Shaq Barrett and his family. https://t.co/gwTOUqrd40
— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) May 1, 2023
Our thoughts are with Shaq and the Barrett family during this difficult time❤️💙 https://t.co/b0q1Rfwbi6
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 30, 2023