John and two friends were walking over ice-covered Lake St. Louis when the trio fell through. One of the teens managed to swim back to shore while another clung to ice. By the time paramedics arrived, John had been submerged for more than 15 minutes. Crews attempted CPR for 15 minutes before doctors at SSM St. Joseph Hospital West continued the procedure for another 27 minutes, KSDK reported. During that time, he showed no signs of life. But just then, John’s mother, Joyce, entered the trauma room and started praying loudly, said Dr. Kent Sutterer. “Within a matter of a minute or two, his heart started again,” the doctor told KSDK.

The 5-foot-3 teen’s body temperature was 88 degrees, and doctors were still worried he could die within days if not hours. But not only did he survive — his brain functions returned to normal. “The only factors medically that were really in John’s favor is that this was a cold-water drowning,” Dr. Jeremy Garrett told the station. Still, doctors remain baffled that his brain function was preserved. The tenacious teen, who loves playing basketball, must undergo several weeks of outpatient therapy after his brush with death. But Dr. Garrett said John’s recovery remains like nothing he has ever seen: “It’s a bonafide miracle.”

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