ALBERTVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — An Albertville High School cross-country runner is in the hospital after being hit by a car, according to an Albertville City Schools (ACS) spokesperson.

Albertville High School student-athlete Daniel Leija was struck by a vehicle Friday night while running at the walking trail crossing on Highway 69 at Sunset Drive in Guntersville.

Leija was flown to Huntsville Hospital where he has undergone three surgeries as of Sunday afternoon. Leija still has a “long road of recovery in front of him,” according to the ACS spokesperson.

The school system released this statement regarding the incident:

Daniel is not only an exceptional athlete but also a beloved member of our school family. Daniel’s dad, Eli, is a faculty member at AHS, and his mom, Lydia, teaches at Albertville Primary School. Our thoughts, prayers, and support are with Daniel’s family during this difficult time. In the past weeks, we’ve witnessed the incredible power of our community coming together. Now, it’s time for us to unite once again, extending our unwavering support to Daniel and his family. Let us hold our students close, providing the strength and compassion they need during this challenging time.

Leija is a 17-year-old senior at the high school and is the defending Marshall County varsity boys’ cross-country champion.