South Dakota kicker hospitalized

Updated: January 15, 2010, 5:26 PM ET
Associated Press

VERMILLION, S.D. -- South Dakota kicker Sam Sawyer is recovering from a skiing accident that prompted caregivers to put him in a medically induced coma.

Coach Ed Meierkort said the redshirt freshman suffered severe head and chest injuries while skiing in the Black Hills last week.

The coach said Sawyer was being weaned from medication Friday, starting to make gestures and was "slowly coming out of it." Family members said on a Web site that Sawyer was smiling and responding to some questions.

Meierkort said that until the 20-year-old Sawyer becomes fully alert officials won't know how the accident happened.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press