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Ex-Governor Johnson Injured While Paragliding

By Miguel Navrot
Journal Staff Writer
    Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson is recovering from another sports injury, this time from a gliding accident.
    Johnson said Sunday he was paragliding from a ledge in Maui, Hawaii, when he misjudged the lift he needed for the flight. He snagged in a tree, which "slingslot" him to the ground Oct. 12.
    Johnson's injuries include a fractured vertebrae, a broken rib and knee problems. He expects to undergo knee surgery soon to remove bone chips, he said in a telephone interview from Santa Fe.
    "I'm doing great," Johnson said, although he has limited mobility. He can stand just to go to the bathroom, and a complete recovery is expected to take six months.
    "I have to be on my back for six weeks," Johnson said.
    Paragliding differs from hang gliding in that paragliders launch with an inflating, elliptical wing. Hang gliders use a fixed-frame V-shaped wing.
    Johnson, Gov. Bill Richardson's predecessor, escaped injury earlier this month in a three-car pileup on Interstate 25 north of Albuquerque.
    An Ironman triathlete, mountain climber and skier, Johnson has suffered his share of sports injuries.
    In 2003, after climbing Mount Everest, Johnson suffered frostbite on his left big toe. He broke a leg skiing earlier that winter.
    In January 2001, Johnson fractured two vertebrae after slipping on some ice in Santa Fe while jogging. He injured his ribs the following month after falling off a motorcycle near Madrid, N.M.
    That June, Johnson suffered a few bruises in a spill while kayaking on the Rio Grande near Pilar.
    Johnson has also notched some skiing injuries. He suffered facial frostbite in 1998 and a broken knee in 1996. After a close call with another tree in 1997, Johnson began wearing a ski helmet while on the slopes.

E-MAIL Journal Staff Writer Miguel Navrot