CHESAPEAKE, Va. – PBA Tour veteran Martin Larsen of Sweden was seriously injured when he was struck by a car last Thursday in Virginia Beach, Virginia, prior to the start of the PBA Harry O’Neale Chesapeake Open. The news was first reported by FloBowling senior editor Lucas Wiseman.
Larsen, 40, was walking with fellow bowler Fran Louw of South Africa when he was struck in the middle of an intersection while attempting to cross the street. Larsen said he was thrown 40 feet down the road as a result of the accident.
Larsen told FloBowling he was hospitalized for two nights with a broken left wrist, 59 stitches in his upper left arm, a broken rib and other various injuries. Fortunately, none of the injuries were life-threatening, but his 2019 season is over.
“I feel really fortunate looking back on it,” Larsen told Wiseman. “I just can’t understand how my legs are not broken, and how I don’t have a real bad headache. It’s really fortunate that I’m alive, and I’m not more hurt than I am.”
Larsen said he and Louw drove to the tourist district along the beach to see the sights and enjoy dinner. When they returned to their rental car, they found it had been towed because it was illegally parked. The impound lot was just over a mile away, Larsen said, so they decided to walk to retrieve their vehicle. Along the way, Larsen said they reached an intersection where they waited “a long time” for a crossing signal.
“When the cars stopped, we thought it was our turn,” Larsen said. “Stupid enough, we didn’t pay attention to the lights. There was a car coming from the third lane. We didn’t see it and they didn’t see us.”
Larsen said he was slowed down because he was carrying a case of bottled water on his shoulder, while Louw was in front of him, which is why Louw wasn’t hit.
“It’s a lifetime lesson learned,” Larsen said. “You have to do what you say to the kids and wait until it’s your turn to cross. Next time I’m going to be a little more careful.”
Larsen, who flew home to Sweden, said he was thankful most of the injuries were to his left arm and not his bowling arm.
“My right arm is totally fine except for some bruises,” Larsen said. “The left wrist is going to be in a cast for five weeks. I don’t know how long it takes for the rest of the body to heal up.”
Larsen, long considered one of Europe’s premier players, has bowled in PBA Tour competition since 2009 with a second-place finish in the 2014 PBA Scorpion Championship his best among six top-five finishes. He was the recipient of the 2012 Steve Nagy Sportsmanship Award, selected by his fellow competitors.