Texas Governor Greg Abbott has revealed he tested positive for COVID, after attending a “standing room only” event in the state.
Abbott’s office announced the fully vaccinated governor’s diagnosis in a statement on Tuesday. In a tweet featuring a video clip of him speaking, he said he had no symptoms, such as a fever or aches and pains, at the time.
Photos of the event and the video statement showed Abbott using a wheelchair. That appeared to prompt a spike in people searching for answers as to why, according to the Google Trends analytics tool.
Abbott is open about why he has to use a wheelchair, and he answers the question on his official website.
“Many Texans ask why Governor Greg Abbott is in a wheelchair. His story is one of triumph over tragedy,” his website states.
Abbott was paralyzed from the waist down in July 1984 when he was 26 years old and had recently graduated from law school. He was jogging in a west Houston neighborhood when a large oak tree broke and fell onto his back.
The tree crushed a number of his vertebrae, causing them to splinter into his spinal cord. He also suffered damage to his vital organs and broken ribs. Doctors treated him by fitting a pair of permanent steel rods near his spine.
In an interview shared on his YouTube channel in 2013, he described the life-changing day.
“I was just jogging along like any other day that I was out running and then ‘bam’ a huge explosion type-sound occurred right next to me. Next thing I know [I] was down because this huge tree had fallen on me.
“The pain was excruciating it felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to my back. I was literally at death’s door, and I felt like I just had to cling to every single moment.”
The video features a photo of a young Abbott lying in bed wearing what appears to be a medical device on his torso.
He said: “When you’re lying in bed throttled with pain you have to apply lessons that you’ve learned all your life and for me that lesson was perseverance. It was the lesson of never ever giving up. Our lives aren’t defined by our challenges, instead we get to define our lives by how we respond to those challenges.”