South Dakota college pitcher's stolen prosthetic arm found after surge of donations

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Campus entrance sign for Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Augustana pitcher Parker Hanson, who was born without a left hand, had his prosthetic arm stolen out of his car last week. (Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

A South Dakota college pitcher had his prosthetic arm stolen out of his vehicle last week, which naturally left him both upset and without a way to compete normally for Augustana University.

On Tuesday, Parker Hanson was reunited with his arm.

Hanson told the Argus Leader on Tuesday that a worker at a recycling plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, found his arm thrown in with other items at the facility and pulled it out.

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Pitcher’s prosthetic arm stolen

Hanson, a right handed pitcher at the Division II university in South Dakota, was born without a left hand. Yet since he was a kid, Hanson found ways around his disability and kept playing baseball — all while working his way up to Augustana.

Last week, though, Hanson took to Facebook and shared that his backpack and other items had been stolen out of his unlocked vehicle at his home. Inside that backpack was his prosthetic arm and attachments, which he said was worth between $15,000 and $25,000.

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“It was only for me. I’m the only person in the world that can use that arm,” he told the Argus Leader last week.

The backpack was found the next day by the Sioux Falls Police Department on the side of the road, and the attachments for his arm were inside. The actual arm itself, though, was nowhere to be found.

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

Finally, on Monday night, a pair of workers at a local recycling plant saw the prosthetic arm as they were pulling non-recyclables from the line.

“You never know what you’re going to see coming through this line,” plant worker Tim Kachel said, via the Argus Leader. “[Hanson] was so relieved and excited, he was shaking.”

Hanson still needs a new arm

Despite the good news, Hanson said he likely won’t be able to use the recovered prosthetic arm.

“It’s pretty banged up,” he said, via the Argus Leader. “It’s definitely been through a gauntlet it looks like.”

Throughout the past week, however, Hanson’s story took off — which prompted a wave of donations for a replacement prosthetic. He said Monday that he was finally approved to accept those donations through the university. On Tuesday, per the report, the Shriner’s Children’s Twin Cities donated a new prosthetic arm to Hanson for free.

So, all funds donated to the university in Hanson’s name will end up going to the Shriner’s Hospital and NubAbility to help other children in similar situations get their own prosthetic limbs.

“If I can help impact some kid’s life for a positive, then that’s what I’ll take out of this whole experience,” he said, via the Argus Leader.

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