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After jet ski crash, State Sen. Gudger facing ‘difficult’ recovery

BIRMINGHAM — Recuperating from his injuries in a jet ski crash, State Sen. Garlan Gudger Jr. said Sunday his “physical recovery will be a difficult one” for his family.

Gudger (R-Cullman) issued the statement from UAB Hospital, where he remains in intensive care following the Fourth of July crash that resulted in three fractured vertebrae, six fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and internal bleeding.

He was airlifted to UAB Hospital on Thursday following the accident on Smith Lake in which his personal watercraft was struck from behind by one driven by his son Garlan III, and he underwent a brief surgical procedure upon arrival to address the internal bleeding.

Gudger III was treated by paramedics and released at the scene.

ALEA Trooper Sgt. Jeremy Burkett said the collision happened Thursday on Rock Creek on Smith Lake.

The two riders, who were wearing life jackets, were thrown into the water in the crash, Burkett said.

Bystanders on the dock pulled them out of the water.

“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,” said Gudger.

The senator said he is in the ICU and has been able to walk down a hallway.

“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,” Gudger said.

“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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