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Gudger from hospital: Grateful for first responders, prayers

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Three days after sustaining serious injuries in a jet ski accident on the Fourth of July, State Sen. Garlan Gudger on Sunday released a statement from the hospital thanking those who tended to him and reassuring the state that he will recover.

Gudger is recuperating at UAB Hospital in Birmingham, where he is being treated for three fractured vertebrae, six fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and internal bleeding sustained from the accident.

“If it had not been for the bystanders at the dock, the first responders who treated me at lakeside, the emergency helipad that had been installed by Trident Marina, Alabama’s Air Evac Flight Team, and an amazing group of UAB doctors, nurses, and administrators, I am certain that the outcome of this accident would have been much different,” Gudger said.

“I remain under watch in UAB’s Intensive Care Unit but have been able to walk down the hallway.”

Gudger, R-Cullman, was injured on Smith Lake Thursday afternoon when the jet-ski he was operating was struck from behind by a jet-ski driven by his son, Garlan Gudger III. Both men, ages 49 and 21, were wearing flotation devices and were thrown into the water, according to a press release from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

The accident happened around 3:15 p.m.

“Bystanders in the area assisted both individuals out of the water and transported them to a nearby dock,” ALEA said in a statement Friday afternoon. “(Sen. Gudger) was evaluated by local emergency medical services personnel and was subsequently transported via helicopter to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital for medical treatment. Garlan E. Gudger III was also evaluated by local EMS personnel but was released at the scene.”

Gudger acknowledged that the road to recovery would be difficult, but expressed his gratitude for all those who have offered encouraging thoughts and prayers.

“The physical recovery will be a difficult one for our family, but it will be made easier by the intercessory prayers being sent by friends, family, constituents, colleagues, and even total strangers who understand that healing comes from God.

“At this time, I must focus on getting better and will not be able to accept visitors, but please know how grateful my family and I are for everyone who has reached out to offer help and concern.”


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