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Sappington Recovering After Boating Accident

John Sappington of Willard, Mo., is recovering at Lafayette General Medical Center after suffering neck and back injuries late Tuesday afternoon when the boat he was piloting struck a cable used to pull the Cote Blanche Ferry in St. Mary Parish, La. Sappington, a member of Team Snickers and winner of the 2002 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship, was slated to compete in next week’s tour stop on the Atchafalaya Basin in Morgan City, La.

Rescue personnel from Four Corners, La., responded to the accident at 4:25 p.m. according to Major Steve Clark, water patrol supervisor for the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Department, and approximately 20 minutes later Sappington was flown by helicopter to Lafayette General Medical Center.

According to Sheryl Wood, Sappington’s sister who is by his side at the hospital, John suffered multiple neck and back injuries and was rendered unconscious when his boat struck and then slid under the Ferry’s cable. The cable hit Sappington in the head and knocked off the helmet that he was wearing, Wood said. He was also wearing a life jacket at the time but was not thrown from the boat.

Captain Joe Matassa with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division confirmed that Sappington did strike the Cote Blanche Ferry cable just after 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“The Ferry is cable-driven, and when in operation, the cable rises out of the water,” Matassa said. “Mr. Sappington ran under the cable and suffered serious injury. There is no doubt that the helmet he was wearing saved his life.”

According to Wood, Sappington is talking and moving his arms and legs. Wood also says that doctors have told Sappington that he will have to wear a halo to support his neck for approximately three months, but he will likely make a full recovery. In fact, he may be up and walking by the end of the day and is scheduled to be released from the hospital Friday.

FLW Tour Tournament Director Bill Taylor was in Morgan City at the time of the accident and spent the night by Sappington’s side until his sister arrived Wednesday morning.





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