This is one of those stories we desperately wish didn’t exist. If only we could rewind time a little bit, Shaquil Barrett could be hugging his 2-year-old daughter right now. The linebacker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tragically lost his daughter Arrayah on Sunday after she drowned in the family’s pool.
According to a statement from the Tampa Police Department obtained by PEOPLE, authorities received a call around 9:30 a.m. that a child had fallen into a pool. Authorities said Arrayah was then brought to the hospital where professionals were unable to revive her.
“[The drowning] is not believed to be suspicious in nature at this time, but a purely accidental and tragic incident,” stated a report from the police, which The Associated Press obtained later that day.
Barrett’s NFL team released a statement on social media on Sunday saying the “tragic news is heartbreaking for all members of the Buccaneers family.”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Shaq, Jordanna and the entire Barrett family during this unimaginably difficult time,” the team said. “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.”
A Message From Brady
Retired quarterback Tom Brady is sending his love and condolences to his former teammate. Brady posted a picture of Barrett’s family in an Instagram story and wrote “The Brady’s love you” followed by a heart emoji and three praying hands emojis.
The Barrett Family
Barrett has yet to publically address the toddler’s death as he, his wife Jordanna Bryant, and their children — Shaquil Jr., 11 Braylon, 9, and Aaliyah, 8 — are undoubtedly looking for privacy as they grieve.
Just days before Arrayah’s death, the family celebrated her second birthday.
“Happy 2nd bday to my cutie girl. So sweet and cute. You made our family complete. I love you baby girl😘😘 #TGBTG #BIG2,” Shaquil wrote on Instagram.
“Happy Second birthday my little Arrayah Sunshine!” Jordanna captioned her own post. “We love you so much! You are the completion to our family, the apple to our eyes. You’ve become the most fun, energetic, entertaining, sweet, kind, smart, precious little girl we could have ever dreamed of! Your big sis, big bros, and momma and daddy love you to the moon and back 💕 happy birthday Arrayah Sue 🌸.”
May is National Drowning Prevention Month, and there are steps every family can take to reduce the risk of drowning. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), drowning is a leading cause of death for children, especially those ages 1-4 years old.
“Key prevention measures include 4-sided fencing of all residential pools, close supervision of young children whenever they are in or near water, and swim lessons once children are ready to learn to swim (around age 1),” they said.
The likelihood of a child drowning doesn’t disappear after they turn 4 years old. In fact, it increases again during their teenage years. “Teens are more likely to overestimate their skills and underestimate dangerous situations,” the AAP explained.
It’s also important to remember that drownings don’t just happen in pools or other large bodies of water. Kids can drown in as little as 1 to 2 inches of water, and the AAP recommends that babies not be left alone for even a moment during a bath.
For more information about swim safety, visit the AAP or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for additional insights and resources.
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