Governor Fractures Spine in Fall

  Governor Fractures Spine in Fall

Posted by FoM on January 17, 2001 at 14:05:38 PT
By Lowry McAllen, Tribune Reporter 
Source: Albuquerque Tribune  

Gov. Gary Johnson suffered fractures to his spine today after slipping and falling on a patch of ice as he began an early morning run.   Johnson's neurosurgeon, Dr. Erich Marchand, said the governor suffered compression fractures in two neighboring vertebrae. He said that while such injuries can sometimes be very serious, Johnson's breaks are "not severe enough as to put the spinal cord at risk."
  Marchand said there was no chance Johnson, 48, could be paralyzed from the fall.   Johnson's spokeswoman, Diane Kinderwater, said the governor was in good spirits this morning after the injury.   "He's looking good and joking with the staff" of the hospital, she said. "He's in no pain."   A spokeswoman for St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe said Johnson is listed in good condition.   The Republican governor was just starting his morning jog when he slipped on a patch of ice outside his temporary home in east Santa Fe, Kinderwater said. Johnson and his wife, Dee, are living in a temporary home while the governor's mansion is being renovated.   Heavy snowfall in Santa Fe began late Tuesday and continued well past daylight today. Throughout the city, the new snow made a blanket inches thick over some icy patches on streets and sidewalks.   After Johnson fell, his security personnel and his wife took him to St. Vincent for admission to the emergency room. A CT scan and X-ray revealed the fractures in the upper back, Johnson's office said in a statement.   Marchand said Johnson would likely stay at the hospital for at least two days. He said the governor will have to wear a brace once he has been released. He will not be able to exercise for several weeks, but the injury should not interfere with his duties.   Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley broke the news to the Legislature from the floor of the Senate about 10 o'clock today. He said the governor was not paralyzed. He also said, "There's no surgery anticipated."   Speaking to reporters after the announcement, House Speaker Ben Lujan, a Nambe Democrat, said, "He will be in all of our prayers."   Sen. Tim Jennings, a Roswell Democrat and the Senate majority leader, echoed those feelings.   "We certainly all wish the governor a speedy recovery," he said.   Johnson had planned to attend the inauguration of president-elect George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20, Kinderwater said. Those plans have been canceled by his accident.   Johnson has long talked about his love for athletics, having participated in the Ironman Triathlon several times. The only injuries of note that he's suffered since becoming governor involved skiing.   In 1996, Johnson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to reattach the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at University of New Mexico Hospital. He tore the ligament while skiing at Red River. In 1997, Johnson suffered a bruise to his left leg after he fell while skiing, slid backward and hit a tree. Note: There is no risk of spinal cord injury or paralysis, Gov. Gary Johnson's doctor said today.Source: Albuquerque Tribune (NM)Author: Lowry McAllen, Tribune ReporterPublished: January 17, 2001Copyright: 2001 The Albuquerque TribuneAddress: P.O. Drawer T, 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109Contact: letters abqtrib.comWebsite: Information: E-mail: gov gov.state.nm.usWeb: (505) 827-3000Fax: (505) 827-3026Address: State Capitol, 4th FloorSanta Fe, NM 87503 CannabisNews Articles - Governor Gary Johnson 

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 20, 2001 at 13:01:14 PT

News Brief From The Associated Press
Rafters Rescue Governor From Rapids Source: Associated PressPublished: June 20, 2001Copyright: 2001 Associated Press Experienced river runners had to rescue Gov. Gary Johnson after the Rio Grande flushed him into a rapid called the "Toilet Bowl."   One of the rafters who rescued Johnson said the governor violated basic safety precautions by failing to have flotation bladders in his kayak, running the river alone and heading through potentially dangerous rapids beyond his beginner skill level.   Johnson, an avid mountain climber, swimmer and bicycle rider, has been taking kayaking classes at Santa Fe Community College, his spokeswoman Diane Kinderwater said Tuesday.   When friends failed to show up for an outing Sunday, Johnson set out kayaking alone in a section of the river called Pilar Run, just north of the Rio Arriba County-Taos County line.   "He was on the Rio Grande, and he went down through the rapids," Kinderwater said. "And as a beginner, he got tossed out of his kayak, and he floated through the rapids."   Ben Goodin, a certified canoe and kayak instructor, was taking a raft through the rapids when he saw a kayaker who had been ejected from his boat.   Goodin said the kayaker went right through the Toilet Bowl.   The standard maneuver through the rapid is to go to the right of a large rock, Goodin said. The water cuts under the rock on the left side, creating a potentially dangerous situation that could pin someone underwater.   "He didn't even know where the Toilet Bowl was or what he swam through," Goodin said. "He was pretty much in the dark about the whole thing."   Goodin and Marvel Kellogg, a Los Alamos resident who was canoeing on the river on Sunday, both said the governor should not have been alone on the river and should have had the proper equipment.   Kellogg said the Pilar Run is not for beginners.   "I think that river running is a very exciting and serious sport with exceptionally inherent dangers," he said. "It's an important part of tourism in New Mexico. I think (Johnson set) a very poor precedent for how people should be engaging in this activity." 
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