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George McGovern stable after fall

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern was alert, comfortable and in stable condition at a South Dakota hospital yesterday after hitting his head during a fall, hospital officials said.

The 89-year-old former U.S. senator was taken by helicopter to a Sioux Falls hospital Friday after falling outside Dakota Wesleyan University's McGovern Library in Mitchell. A school official said McGovern hit his head on the pavement about two hours before he was scheduled to appear on a live C-SPAN interview at the library.

"Senator McGovern is alert and resting comfortably but, as with any head injury, it is important that we observe the situation closely," Dr. Michael Elliott, chief medical officer at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, said in a written statement yesterday.

The statement said McGovern was in stable condition, though no other details were released.

The former South Dakota senator has lived in St. Augustine, Fla., since 2008 but also has a home in Mitchell.

Friends and faculty who had gathered at the library for the C-SPAN taping said McGovern fell at about 5:15 p.m. Friday. McGovern was "bleeding profusely" but was conscious and talking as he was taken from the university by ambulance, said Donald Simmons, dean of the College of Public Service.

McGovern's daughter, Ann, said Friday that the injury was unrelated to her father's hospitalization in late October for exhaustion. -- AP

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