Bovell was in the Manzanilla area at about 7.05 am when his car collided with a truck proceeding in the opposite direction.
The three-time Olympic swimmer, who was diagnosed with a concussion, was assisted by passers-by including former national cricketer Imran Jan and his wife who is a doctor.
The former Sportsman of the Year, who was unconscious, was rushed to the Sangre Grande District Hospital where he received initial treatment and was stabilised.
A CAT (CT) scan was done which showed no major damage except for “one area of concern”. He was then transferred to the St Clair Medical Centre in Port-of-Spain where he was warded and neurosurgeons there carried out additional tests which revealed he was concussed.
The 28-year-old, who initially was unable to recall the accident, also suffered cuts and contusions to his head, lacerations on his left ankle and complained of blurred vision while at St Clair Medical Centre.
He is however, resting comfortably at the institution with his relieved family and is expected to be kept overnight for observation.
A nervous-looking Minister of Sports Anil Roberts as well as former national swimmer Paul Newallo were present at St Clair Medical Centre awaiting Bovell who arrived in an ambulance, at about 12 noon, and spoke briefly to Roberts who is also Bovell’s personal coach.
“I thank God that he is alright. Trinidad and Tobago, we can say a prayer that he is okay. They are going to observe and we await for the final report on the little portion (of concern identified in the CT scan). You know once you are dealing with the brain, I will always be a little concerned but the good thing is his memory has come back and there are no broken bones,” said Roberts.
According to Roberts, Bovell, after an early training session, was driving by himself to Mayaro to spearfish, one of his favourite hobbies, with a professional free diver.
“The car that he was driving (there were) some little problems with the brakes. When he was coming around a corner, the brakes locked up (and) he lost control. There was an oncoming truck, I believe, he saw it coming (and) luckily because he is an athlete...he was able even though his seatbelt was on...to shift his entire body weight to the passenger side. From what he tells me, the entire driver side was crushed and caved in. Had he been trapped in there, it could have been much worse,” Roberts exclaimed.
The Sports Minister said he was lost for words when he heard the news but immediately began making calls to get apprised of the situation.
“I was speechless,” Roberts stammered, “I asked about four times if it was his father (George Bovell II) because I know George (III) trained last night (and) this morning (yesterday) and everything was okay. Immediately I was in contact with his uncle Richard (Bovell) and I was getting full reports and updates so about five minutes after I was calmer knowing he was alright,” he said.
Bovell earned TT’s first-ever Olympic swim medal, claiming bronze at the 2004 Olympics in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley in one minute, 58.50 seconds.
Roberts was reluctant to say whether the injury could curtail the former Sportsman of the Year’s preparation for the Pan Am Games scheduled for October 14–30, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
“I have to see under their bandages how much stitches there are (because) if there are stitches he won’t be able to go in the water which will hold us back a little bit because October is right there. If that is the case and he can’t go in the pool, we will have to be creative and do (training) in the gym and cross-training,” he explained.