One man’s quest to bike to all 30 major league ballparks this season for charity was ended prematurely after he was struck and injured by a pickup truck while riding in Alabama on Thursday.
Tim Lalla, 24, was hospitalized with a burst fracture in his lower back, minor spinal fractures and a facial fracture, according to a statement from Biking for Baseball, a nonprofit that promotes youth mentoring and raises money to put disadvantaged children through college. Lalla was more than two months into the organization’s third such cross-country ride.
Lalla started his ride, which was scheduled to take him about 11,700 miles, on April 10 in Seattle. He had seen games at 10 different ballparks and was in the middle of his 820-mile leg from Houston to Atlanta when he was struck about 40 miles outside Tuscaloosa on Thursday.
Lalla underwent a six-hour surgery Friday at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Hospital and is scheduled to return home to Chicago this week. The Chicago Tribune reports that the driver of the Ford F-150 involved in the accident stopped and the accident was still under investigation.
Lalla, who has raised more than $12,000 toward his goal of $160,000 for a scholarship fund for mentees from mentoring programs supporting by Biking for Baseball, issued the following statement over the weekend:
This trip has been absolutely incredible. I can’t say how devastated I am that this is how it ends. The places, stories, but especially the wonderful people I’ve met across the country has made this adventure amazing. For those wanting to help and show their support, I ask the same thing I have all summer; first consider becoming a mentor and volunteering some of your time to help your community and be a good influence in a kid’s life, and second consider donating to the cause and helping us get this scholarship funded.
And thank you for the unbelievable support you all have shown me all summer and especially though this ordeal.