(SEBRING, Fla.) — A Maryland man on a cross-country bike trip to raise money for hearing loss has put the last leg of his more-than-10,000-mile ride on hold after he was hit by a semi-trailer truck, police said.
Jacob Landis, 24, of Annapolis, Md., was biking on a highway from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., to Miami — the home stretch of the nearly six-month-long trek — with his cousin when he was clipped by the mirror of a blue truck at approximately 9:40 p.m. Saturday, according to Polk County Sheriff spokeswoman Donna Wood. He fell from his bike onto the shoulder of the roadway.
When emergency responders arrived, Landis, who is deaf, was disoriented and unable to communicate because his hearing apparatus had been knocked off, Wood said.
He was transported to Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center in Sebring, Fla., Wood said. He was found to have sustained a concussion, a broken nose, a fractured left cheek bone, road rash and bruising from his fall.
Landis has since been released, but the accident set him back on his ride to raise money for the hearing impaired, according to a news release.
Landis was born with normal hearing, but went deaf between the ages of two and 10, his dad, Randy Landis, told ABC News. Following cochlear implant surgery, he was able to fully participate in the hearing world.
Last fall, Landis decided to mesh his love for baseball, bike riding and helping others in hopes of raising money to help those who could benefit from a cochlear implant but cannot afford one, Randy Landis said.
In April, the Baltimore Orioles fan set out on a bike trip to Major League Baseball stadiums across the country to raise money and awareness for cochlear implants.
“He’s a real humble kid because of what he went through during some of those young teen years. He didn’t have the moxie and the social skills that a lot of kids had,” Randy Landis said. “He has a real passion to give back and help out.”
“He’s met with tens of thousands of people this summer, and has had a direct impact on kids that need encouragement,” the father said.
Landis has raised more than $140,000 so far and had less than 200 miles to go before he was scheduled to reach the finish line in Miami on Tuesday, Randy Landis said. But Landis’ doctor said he has to stay off his bike for at least two weeks.
“I don’t remember anything that happened until I woke up at the hospital,” Landis said in a news release. “I just want to thank everyone for their kind words through my Facebook account and special thanks to all of my supporters who made this ride possible.”
Still, the setback won’t keep Landis down, his father said.
“His attitude is wonderful,” Randy Landis said. “He’s committed to going back to Florida in a couple of weeks and finishing the last 180 miles.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident, Wood said.
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