By Lindsay Vaught

The Madison Record

MADISON – David Booker was always there for his daughters. First Sydney at Bob Jones and then Shelby at James Clemens. Sydney signed with Alabama and that meant trips to Tuscaloosa especially for SEC softball weekend series and post season games. Last week Booker and family friend Paul Hughes flew on a 2,500-mile trip to Seattle for Alabama’s super regional at the University of Washington.

Alabama lost two games and it ended its season. But it was what happened coming back that has been on the minds of Alabama players and everyone in Madison who knew David Booker.

“My dad had a stroke on the plane and there was a doctor on the plane and the doctor told the pilot to land as soon as possible. They were over New Mexico and the pilot landed at Albuquerque,” Booker’s oldest daughter, Savanah, said Thursday from the hospital room at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque.

“He was sitting next to a woman and in the middle of a conversation he could not talk and went unresponsive and the woman realized something was wrong and a flight attendant was called over and realized he had a stroke and made an announcement over the plane to see if there was a doctor on board and there was. They told the pilot and he made an emergency landing at Albuquerque, New Mexico and they had an ambulance waiting.

“He is doing much better and it is directly related to how fast they were able to respond and get him clot busting drugs,” Booker continued. “The staff has been amazed at his recovery. He was able to regain movement on the left side of his body. He was still slurring speech the next day.  Wednesday, he had got so much better that he walked a little bit. He still has numbness on his face. The doctors anticipate he will make a full recovery which is amazing considering he had a high score for damage from a stroke.”

Hughes also got off the plane with him at Albuquerque and has stayed with him. Booker, a former Alabama football player, could be discharged June 1 but is still in ICU as a precaution.

Savanah Booker is a 2012 graduate of Bob Jones and then graduated from UAH. She is a registered nurse at Huntsville Hospital. She works in progressive surgery post trauma where patients go after car wrecks or gun-shot wounds. Shelby is also studying to be a nurse.

Sydney will graduate from Alabama in August. She is majoring in Finance. She had to be in class the day after this happened. She was conflicted, but David told her to go on with the class she needed to graduate. She wrapped up her senior year playing softball for Alabama.

“It was unexpected for sure. He will have to be on medication like for high blood pressure and blood thinner. He was trying to control his high blood pressure through diet and exercise but he will need the extra help now. We will be watching him closely. This was a big scare for us out of the blue. It was hard considering he was so far away,” Savanah said.

Booker’s niece Jessica Leah Johnson set up a gofundme account on behalf of the Booker kids. The website is

As of Thursday afternoon over $10,000 had been collected.