College pitcher turning theft of prosthetic arm into charity

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A college baseball player from South Dakota whose prosthetic arm was stolen plans to give away moneydonated by people who want to buy him a replacement.

Augustana’s Parker Hanson, a right-handed pitcher, was born without a left hand, but found a way to adapt at a young age so he play his favorite game all the way up through the college level. His prosthetic arm and the attachments were in a backpack that was stolen from his unlocked pickup outside his home.

“It’s only for me. I’m the only person in the world that can use that arm,” Hanson said.

Hanson talked to his neighbor and got surveillance footage of the suspect in the theft. The footage was shared Monday on Facebook and on Tuesday Sioux Falls police found his bag on the side of the road near Hanson’s home. The prosthetic attachments were returned to Hanson, but his arm is still missing, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

“I’m guessing the news stories kind of rattled them, maybe made them feel a little bad or guilty about what they took,” Hanson said.

In the meantime, he’s had people offer to give and raise money for a replacement. NCAA rules prohibit him from accepting donations until the end of his season, at which time he said “whatever funds I don’t need I’m looking to donate back into the community or charities that help people with disabilities.”

In addition, some families who have seen his story want Hanson to meet their children who have disabilities and prove to them they can live a regular life, too. He’s planning on having some of them visit him at practice.

“If I can make a positive impact in someone’s life every single day, then that’s my definition of a good day, I just want to bring a smile to people’s faces,” Hanson said.

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