by Troy Gaulden
To help pay for LSU Cheerleading associate head coach Chico Garcia’s medical expenses, LSU Cheerleading established Cheering for Chico, a website that shares updates on Chico and allows anyone to post to Chico.
Also, T-shirts can be purchased through the website, with all proceeds going toward Chico’s fund. LSU spirit director Pauline Zernott says they are striving to raise around $150,000.
“It definitely shows how strong of a person he is, and you know it takes a very strong-willed and determined person to sit there and know they might not be able to move or might not be able to walk for a few months or years even. But, that hasn’t stopped him from what his ultimate goal is and that’s making us better as a squad,” said LSU cheerleader Courtney Begnaud.
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Enforcement Division, the 19-foot boat struck a private pier, severely injuring Chico. Chico is currently paralyzed from the chest down after suffering a spinal cord injury in the cervical region. There were four others on board. Two people were released from the hospital, and two children remained hospitalized. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.
UPDATE (Oct. 5):
According to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, charges were filed against Jack Riffle for his involvement in the boating accident.
Riffle was charged with driving a boat while intoxicated, reckless operation of a moving vessel and four counts of first-degree negligent injury.
Chico is still paralyzed from the chest down. He is currently in the Shepherd Center, a rehab hospital in Atlanta that specializes in spinal cord injuries.