Golfer Pollard Recovering from Hit-and-Run
Zach Pollard surprises his brother, Connor, 8, during his family’s traditional search for a Christmas tree at Nichols Tree Farm in Lyme with sister Courtney, left, mom Kim, right, and dad Mark, rear. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Lebanon — For the Pollard family, being home for the holidays has never elicited so much gratitude.
After a hit-and-run accident in September left 18-year-old Zach Pollard with a concussion and broken arm — he was fortunate not to sustain much greater injuries or worse — Pollard said he feels “100 percent” and is ready to rejoin the Bentley University golf team for the spring season beginning in March.
A former Lebanon High golfer and hockey player, Pollard was with some Falcon teammates in downtown Waltham, Mass., the night of Sept. 14 when a Ford Mustang traveling about 30 mph struck him with its right fender, sending Pollard flipping over the hood and rendering him unconscious as he lay on the pavement.
After emergency arm surgery and a five-day hospital stay, Pollard was left with a metal plate and 10 screws in his upper left humerus bone, and only a fuzzy recollection of the incident.
“From what I’ve been told, the tires ran over my feet and I was sort of flung up onto the hood and windshield,” Pollard said at his Sunset Rock Road home this week. “I rolled off the other side. My shoes were turned inside-out. There are tire marks all over them.”
An arrest was recently made in the case, the suspect traced — thanks in part — to the passenger-side rearview mirror left behind at the scene after becoming detached upon the collision.
While that development, and Zach’s full recovery, has brought some relief to the family, the effects of an autumn full of concern and questions had a lasting impact. Zach’s father, Mark, fought back tears as he read from a handwritten note he shared with friends and family.
“This really was a brutal accident,” he wrote. “Zach was hit, got tossed in the air and flipped. He was lying on the pavement unconscious while the driver spun off and ran.
“To come away from this accident with a broken arm and a concussion is pretty much a miracle. We feel very fortunate and blessed. The phone calls, text messages, emails and letters that we have received have blown us away.
“Zach is doing great. He was very lucky, and the Pollard family appreciates everyone’s thoughts and concerns.”
Instructed by doctors not to read or study for several weeks to help aid in recovering from the concussion, university staff made a tutor available to Zach upon his return to campus to help him catch up on classes. Pollard, whose major is undecided, said the rest of the semester went well academically.
So did his golf.
Having qualified for the Falcons’ five-man travel team for its first tournament of the season, Pollard shot 2-over-par 74 on the second day at Keene, N.H.’s Bretwood Golf course to help Bentley place second out of eight teams during a season-opening tournament hosted by Franklin Pierce on Sept. 9-10.
Pollard had also made the cut for the second match of the year, Dowling College’s September Shootout on Long Island, when the accident occurred.
“Coach (Mickey Herron) said everyone on the team missed me at practice and that they weren’t doing as well without me,” Pollard said. “All I could say was that I missed them as much as they missed me. I’d only spent a few weeks with them, but I bonded with them really quickly. I’m just glad I’m back feeling 100 percent and was able to recover.”
To help get his swing back, Pollard spent two weeks rehabilitating with a physical therapist at a facility in Salem, N.H. He anticipates being fully prepared physically and athletically for Bentley’s spring season, which begins March 16 at the Bayside Resort Invitational in Delaware.
Perennially a contender in the Northeast-10 Conference, the Falcons placed fourth at the league match and 11th of 35 teams at the New England Championships this autumn.
Pollard, a two-time high school all-state selection who finished as high as fifth at the NHIAA Division II state match during his four years as a Raider, was one of the Falcons’ top freshman recruits.
After completing his freshman year, Pollard plans on a busy summer of competition, including the New Hampshire State Amateur and New England Amateur as well as the Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine Opens.
It should all help Pollard move on from the accident, though he’ll always carry a lesson to take from it.
“I guess what I learned is that when it seems like everything is going great, don’t take it for granted,” Pollard said. “I’ll always have a big scar on my arm to remind me of that.”
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.