Pulling together to support injured LSU Chearleading coach Chico Garcia

Monday, August 29, 2011 - 4:03pm

THIS IS A FOX4 NEWS UPDATE:

The LSU cheerleading coach who survived a boat crash in the Amite River is still recovering in the hospital. Chico Garcia underwent surgery to repair broken vertebrae after the boat he was riding in crashed into a pier.

Four other people were in that boat; all had broken bones. We don't know their condition, but according to Chico's mom says he's having a hard time sleeping, coughing, and swallowing, after the operation. However, he is talking and in good spirits.

While Chico recovers, those who love him are trying to raise money, so his family won't have to worry about paying for his medical bills.

"We want do everything we can to support him and his family, and keep everyone positive," Galijour said.

She wants to make sure Chico is focusing on making a full recovery, not on how much it'll cost.

"It's a campaign we've started called cheering for Chico."

Galijour got together with other friends and family to design a t-shirt that they hope will help pay for some of his medical expenses. You can buy the shirt for $20 at www.precisionathletes.com.

Galijour says the shirt represents his spirit perfectly.

"It's just him with his smile and a little thumbs up and that's how the world knows him,” she said with a smile. “He's influenced so many cheerleaders.”

His friends are doing all they can to lift his spirits, constantly by his bedside.

"The great part about it is, is that he has a lot of people that are going to be around to help him through that," Robbie Gautreaux, member of Precision Athletes and friend of Chico, explained.

If you donate blood at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital or United Blood Services and mention "Chico Garcia," a $15 credit will be applied to his medical bills.
 

ORIGINAL STORY: ST. AMANT, LA (FOX44) -- A weekend boating trip turned tragic after five victims were sent to the hospital. Included was Chico Garcia, 29, an assistant coach of the LSU cheer squad.

Garcia was one of five who were rescued by the St. Amant Fire Department and medical personnel on Saturday, Aug. 27. Wildlife and Fisheries agents are investigating the cause of the boat crash. So far witnesses say the boat containing Garcia and passengers was forced to swerve out of the way of a passing boat. That’s when they lost control and crashed into a pier on the Diversion Canal near the Tiki Hut.

We’re told Garcia is suffering from a significant spinal cord injury and has no feeling from his neck down.
FOX44 News will have more on this story tonight at 9 p.m.

Note: Photos provided by the St. Amant Fire Department.

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