Texas Gov. Suffers Serious Burns, Toughs It Out to Avoid Drawing Attention From Dallas Police Shootings

By Al Perrotta Published on July 11, 2016

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has given a lesson in grit and grace that may well add another notch on the legend of Texas toughness.

Gov. Abbott cut short his vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyo. to come to Dallas in the wake of Thursday night’s police massacre. He appeared at a Friday press conference with city officials, offered words of encouragement and condolence, and conducted a series of interviews. What the public did not know until Sunday was that the governor was in excruciating pain from second- and third-degree burns, had ignored doctors to make the trip, and insisted his staff stayed mum about it so as to not divert a drop of attention from the fallen heroes in blue. As Gov. Abbott tried to offer healing, he was in need of healing himself.

Last Thursday, before the Dallas shooting, Abbott was accidentally scalded with hot water, suffering extensive burns on both his legs, below his knees and both feet. Although he’d been paralyzed in an accident when younger, Abbott can feel pain in his lower extremities. Spokesman Matt Hirsch says the burns left him suffering “shooting sensations of pain.” According to the Austin American-Statesman, Abbott was rushing to St. John’s Hospital and Hirsch was preparing a statement to announce his injuries, when the horrific news started coming out of Dallas.

“I’ve got to come back,” were the governor’s first words, according to Hirsch. Abbott immediately began making plans for his return. However, doctors were telling Abbott “No.” The wounds needed to be regularly dressed; the risk of serious infection was too great. Abbott insisted.

“It was hugely important for him to be in Dallas the next day without regard to his well-being,” Hirsch tells The Dallas Morning NewsThe statement announcing the governor’s wounds was tossed. Abbott kept mum about the injuries during his Friday evening press conference, his pants covering his heavily wrapped legs.

“We didn’t want to distract from what was happening in Dallas,” Hirsch said. “We still don’t want to.”

Abbott initially returned to Austin for treatment, but The Dallas Morning News reports he’ll be seen today by specialists at the Brook Army Medical Center burn unit in San Antonio. Left up in the air is Gov. Abbott’s role in next week’s GOP convention. He had been expected to lead the Texas delegation to Cleveland, but Hirsch says his attendance is now “day-to-day,” pending advice from his doctors.

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