Death grip

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A death grip is an extremely tight grip, such as that exerted by a person in a panic for fear for their life. This was commonly thought to be a risk when rescuing a drowning person—that they would cling to their rescuer with a death grip which would cause them both to perish. Investigation showed that this did not actually happen in practice and so breaking a death grip is no longer emphasised in lifesaving.[1] The actual behaviour of a drowning person is more passive as they lack the oxygen to take violent action and an instinctive paddling reflex occurs.


  1. ^ Keith Monroe (May–June 2003), "The Way it Was: Breaking the 'Death Grip'", Scouting, Boy Scouts of America: 12–13, retrieved December 4, 2012 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)