Man looks toward full recovery after underground stroke

Man looks toward full recovery after underground stroke (Image 1)
Man looks toward full recovery after underground stroke (Image 1)

A couple is looking ahead after a tragic September incident at Southport Saltpeter Cave in Maury County.

Darrell Smith and his girlfriend Jessica Rogers were with a group when Smith suffered a stroke about a quarter-mile into the subterranean adventure.

“I remember when we got down there,” recounted Smith, “and that's when I could feel it take me under.”

“He couldn't talk and he couldn't get up, it just hit him that fast,” Rogers told Nashville's News 2.

The couple's friends went for help. First responders were able to pull Smith from the cave, but the complicated rescue took hours.

Smith was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center via helicopter, where he received emergency surgery. He recovered in the hospital for two weeks before being allowed to return home.

“It's going to take three or four months to get all the way through it,” said Smith, adding, “whatever it takes I'll do it.”

The couple plans to return to the cave when Smith is fully recovered to finish exploring the underground passageways.

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