PORTSMOUTH, N.H. -- A congressional hopeful who was in a car accident and became lost in the woods overnight was released yesterday from the hospital where he had been treated for a concussion, frostbite, and other injuries that have left him temporarily unable to walk.
''This has been a great ordeal I've gone through. I'm thankful to be alive and thankful to be going home to them," Gary Dodds said at a brief news conference with his wife and two daughters behind him. Dodds, 41, of Rye, spoke from a wheelchair and still faces extensive rehabilitation.
He described hitting a guardrail on the snowy Spaulding Turnpike while driving alone on April 5, being hit by airbags, then being in cold, deep water as he somehow crossed the Bellamy River.
He said he didn't remember much about the following 27 hours, except covering himself with leaves to stay warm, hearing helicopters, and then seeing a light and hearing a whistle from rescuers.
He was going in and out of consciousness when rescuers found him about 100 yards behind some houses.
Dodds and Portsmouth Regional Hospital spokeswoman Nancy Notis declined to answer questions, but Notis anticipated some in a brief statement.
''Upon admission to our facility and examination by our medical experts, there was no indication of drug or alcohol use," she said.
She said Dodds had a concussion with ''some situational amnesia. There is no permanent damage to his brain." She said his feet had ''significant nerve damage," but his problems with balance and walking should be temporary.
''These are not long-term. He will not always be in the wheelchair," she said.
Dodds is the chief financial officer of Accent Magazine, a home and garden publication. He is one of four Democratic hopefuls seeking to unseat two-term Republican Representative Jeb Bradley in the First Congressional District.