Monday, March 28, 2016

Retraction request showdown: publisher called out by SoCal lifeguard re: discredited drowning study


As Sidebar readers know, Stephen Langendorfer PhD, editor of a peer-reviewed aquatics journal called IJARE and a department head at Ohio's Bowling Green State University, is playing ostrich re: a retraction request filed last year by Ed Castillo who runs Golden State Lifeguards out of Woodland Hills, CA.

As I reported a few weeks ago, Langendorfer "purposefully" refused to respond to Castillo's request that a discredited drowning rescue study published in IJARE be given the heave-ho.

The study, which concluded that abdominal thrusts (the Heimich maneuver) are an effective treatment for drowning, was authored by two non-medical professionals, John Hunsucker PhD and Scott Davison of the National Aquatic Safety Company (NASCO), a Houston-area lifeguard training company which has been the subject of  wide-ranging criticism for promoting the thoroughly-discredited treatment.

In January, after decades of what Aquatics International magazine called "using people as guinea pigs," NASCO finally gave up the ghost.

Since Langendorfer's in hiding, Castillo just took his retraction request upstream to the head of Human Kinetics, the $37 million/year company responsible for publishing the squiffy study.

From: Chief Ed Castillo - Golden State Lifeguards <>
To: Skip Maier<>
Subject: NASCO Retraction Request
Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2016 08:23:39 -0700

Skip Maier
Chief Executive Officer
Human Kinetics
1607 N. Market St.
Champaign, IL 61820

Dear Mr. Maier,

As you're aware, on September 21, 2015 I submitted a retraction request re: a controversial research study published by your company in the May 2010 issue of the International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education (IJARE). As you're also aware, I sent my request to the journal's editor, Stephen J. Langendorfer PhD. Here's a copy:

Per this October 20, 2015 to you, Dr. Langendorfer stated that he does not intend to respond to my request

Therefore this e-mail is to formally submit my request to you.

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to your reply.


Ed Castillo
Chief, Lifeguard/EMS Operations
Tactical Medic Operator
Safety Consultant

Pool Lifeguards, Ocean Lifeguards, Rescue Divers, Safety Divers, Trainers
Southern California’s Premier provider of private lifeguards since 2006!

Woodland Hills, CA

“Serving with Honor, Pride & Integrity”


Christina Johnson, Human Kinetics
Peter M. Heimlich, The Sidebar
Stephen J. Langendorfer PhD

Per the e-mail below, Maier claims that his company follows the retraction guidelines of the Committee on Public Ethics (COPE). Click here for a copy those guidelines.

Courtesy of Castillo's e-mail, presumably we'll learn if he's true to his word or if he'll try to pull a Langendorfer.

Click here for a copy of the NASCO study, a scorching analysis/rebuttal by leading medical and water safety experts, and more.