Less than three days after Ashely Lowery was thrown more than 100 feet from his mangled Nissan Altima, his family issued a statement Monday saying the Kentucky safety is expected to make a full recovery.
The junior, who has been in the intensive care unit of a north Georgia hospital since the accident early Saturday, has been upgraded from stable to satisfactory, and his injuries are no longer considered life-threatening.
The joint statement with Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops thanked friends and family for their support. The remarks were issued by University of Kentucky media relations.
"On behalf of the Lowery family, we'd like to thank everyone for their concerns and prayer," the statement said. "From Georgia to Lexington, we can't thank everyone enough. You are like family to us."
Stoops, who was at the Kentucky Derby when news of the accident was released, flew down to visit with Lowery and his family on Monday, spokesman Tony Neely said.
Stoops said he was glad to spend some time with the 20-year-old safety at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Ga.
"We're thankful for the progress he's made and are hopeful he will continue that improvement," the coach's statement said. "We ask the Big Blue Nation to join Ashely's football family in continuing to pray for a speedy recovery."
According to the report issued by the Georgia Department of Public Safety, Lowery was driving his 2006 Nissan Altima about 4 a.m. near his hometown, Cleveland, when it left the road and flipped several times.
Lowery, who was not wearing a seat belt, was thrown about 100 feet from the car, according to an email from Gordy Wright, the department's public information director.
No one else was involved in the accident, and Lowery's injuries were described at the time as "serious."
Lowery, who started eight games last season, was fifth on the team in tackles with 43. He had been touted by the new coaching staff as an emerging defensive leader.
"Ashely's had a good spring," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said April 13 after the Blue-White Game. "He's a guy that has played and has game experience and that always shows in these types of atmospheres."
Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: UKfootball.bloginky.com.