Bike Accident Survivor Recovers From Being Paralyzed

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

By Greg Gullberg
June 09, 2013

Valdosta, GA - Making the community safe for cyclists. That's the focus of a bicycling workshop Monday in Valdosta.

One of the speakers survived a devastating crash that stole his ability to walk. But he's bouncing back.

"It's just been a long road. The recovery has just been a long road. It's been frustrating," said Mark Whatley.

It's one step at a time for Whatley. The Valdosta State University professor was paralyzed from the waist down last September riding his bike when he was struck from behind by a truck. His spine was broken in two places.

"I still have some numbness in the front parts of my legs. So it makes you feel odd. Almost like your knees are taped or something," said Whatley.

He says he was riding along the shoulder on Inner Perimeter Road, taking every precaution, like he did almost everyday for a decade.

"I remember flying through the air and seeing my bike go off in a different direction. And the next thing I knew I was on the ground and something didn't feel right in my legs. So I literally had to clawed my way to the side of the road to get to a point where drivers could see me so I could flag them down," Whatley said.

He says it was a hit and run. The driver took off, but they were later caught and arrested. Whatley doesn't know what happened to her and he doesn't want to know.

Today sitting and standing up are still difficult. But Whatley is ready to tell his story at Monday's Regional Bicycle Workshop in Valdosta.

"That's really what I hope can be taken away from this. Is that in the blink of an eye people's lives can change forever," Whatley said.

- - - Workshop Information - - -

Regional Bike Workshop in Valdosta.
Monday, June 10th from 2 - 4 pm.
Valdosta City Hall Annex Multipurpose room.

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