Location: Wichita

Race Across America Cyclist Update

Here’s an update on the Race Across America Cyclist Struck By Car in Kansas from the Oz Bicycle Club:

Well it is time to keep everyone informed with what is going on with Diego Ballesteros, the Spanish “Race Across America” rider. He was moved to a regular room at Wesley Medical Center yesterday afternoon. He still does not have any feeling from his waist or so down. He has a very positive outlook but says it is very hard under the circumstances. His doctors have told him that they feel the paralysis is due to severe inflammation. He did have 4 broken vertebrae but the spinal cord was intact. He also has 4 broken ribs and road rash galore, from face to toe!

His girlfriend, Ana, arrived Saturday eve following 24hrs of travel. Two from his support crew, Mattias and Chavi, remain to help him through the red tape involved with this kind of situation. What insurance covers and which insurance covers what, has been a real headache.

Their goal is to find a medical airplane to airlift him back home to Spain. The cost is prohibitive and whether or not insurance will cover is still in question. His girlfriend only has 10 vacation days and so she is hopeful all will work out. Another option is a rehab hospital in Colorado until he can board a regular flight. A local couple have opened their house (2 blocks from WMC) to these 3 to keep their cost of stay at a minimum. They are surprised at Kansan’s generosity and concern. (I’m not.)

Diego rode as close to Marco Polo’s route from Spain to Peking, China 2 years ago in 100 days or so, all by himself, just shy of 13,000 km. He would stock up on water whenever he could as he had some pretty isolated areas. He has written a book on his trip which will be released in the fall. This year alone he had over 7000 miles logged on his bike. His physical condition was extraordinary and that will be in his favor.

Earlier, Diego had issued a public statement expressing thanks for his care:

Diego Ballesteros Cucurull, the bicyclist from Spain badly injured during the Race Across America when he was hit by a car on K-254 earlier this week, issued a statement of gratitude on Friday.

Ballesteros, 36, is in serious condition at Wesley Medical Center. He was injured at 6:44 a.m. Wednesday when a car drifted off K-254 about a quarter-mile west of the Butler County line and slammed into his bike.

He is in good spirits, hospital officials said, but is declining interviews. He issued this statement:

“Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and prayers. I feel support and love from people all around the world.

“I especially want to thank the people who are caring for me at Wesley, the law enforcement community and everyone who is sending me good wishes. It means so much to me.” [read more]

No word yet on any charges against the driver, Keith J. Swoverland, age 22, of Wichita. The Kansas Highway Patrol plans to present evidence in the case to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

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About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

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