Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Those 12 seconds changed everything for Dylan Domangue, and they were the first seconds of his life.
“Basically my brain did not receive oxygen for about 12 seconds,” Domangue says. “It caused neurological damage to my brain that affects the muscles in my legs.” Domangue has lived with a mild form of cerebral palsy due to that brief lack of oxygen.
A recent graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University with a degree in communications, Domangue took his personal story of overcoming the odds and created a documentary as his senior thesis. After premiering on the Southeastern Channel in August, “12 Seconds at Birth” is available to watch on YouTube.
Domangue gives a lot of credit to his parents, Krista and Josh Domangue, for helping him succeed. “They never treated me as having a disorder,” he says. “They never labeled that. My parents handled every second and every stage of my life and they persevered through it.”
When Domangue was a sixth grader, the Houma-based family had to drop everything in their lives to support him while he was in a Shreveport hospital for several months. His little sister, Ella Scott, was very young. Of his parents, Domangue says, “I think that their story is just as motivating as mine is. They can serve as inspiration for parents with disorders.”
The physical differences for Domangue were tough to deal with for a while during childhood. “Every kid is different, but whatever I had it definitely stood out more,” he says. There were things that people would assume he could physically do, and it was hard when he couldn’t. “Once I started playing sports at an early age and actually just trying to treat myself as a normal kid, it slowly started to get easier.”
His early interest in sports has carried over into his college years and career as a journalist. “My first day of my freshman year, I started at the station and just learned from everybody who had experience,” he says. “I was a sponge basically that just absorbed everything.”
Throughout college, Domangue received numerous awards for his sports reporting and videography, including first place in news videography and back-to-back years of second place in sports videography from the Society of Professional Journalists.
Domangue was recently hired as a news reporter and anchor at KALB, a station in Alexandria. It’s a departure from the sports reporting that was his focus during college. “I’m perfectly OK with not doing sports right now,” he says.
Using his own life to create a documentary wasn’t instinctual. “I never looked at my story as being that much of an inspiration until other people kind of told me so,” he says. But now he sees his story’s value.
“The whole point of my documentary and something I’m trying to do on the side of my professional career is to really be there for those kids with disabilities,” he says. “My documentary wasn’t just for other kids with disorders. I want people to understand that everyone with a disorder has goals. I know everything these kids are feeling and going through. I just want to serve as an inspiration for others.” ■