Paralyzed Indy Driver Breaks Silence On Spinal Injury

Instagram/Robert Wickens, Twitter/F1Writers

Just a few short days after revealing to the world that he had been paralyzed by a near-fatal crash in mid-August, this Indy driver is clarifying his statement in which he called himself “paraplegic.”

The Horrible Crash

Just months ago, during the 2018 ABC Supply 500, following a restart on Lap 7, 29-year-old Canadian INDYCAR driver Robert Wickens was running side-by-side with American Indy champ Ryan Hunter-Reay when Wickens tried to pass him.

The cars slightly touched, causing Hunter-Reay’s car to slam into the outer wall, but Wickens got dragged along with him and launched up over the wall – flying into the catch fence and ripping his car to shreds as he flipped over and over.

The fencing he catapulted into was shredded and so was his car – which came to rest near an inside wall and was reduced just to the tub of the car. Emergency personnel rushed to his aid and he was flown via medivac to an Allentown, PA hospital.

While he was reported as “awake and alert” after arriving at the hospital, doctors were unsure of how much spinal damage he has suffered.

Now, he has opened up about the damage to his spine and the ripple effect it has had on his mobility and how that relates to his paralysis and “paraplegic” statement.

His Recovery & Unknown Spinal Diagnosis

In the few short months since this truly terrifying crash, Robert Wickens has been providing updates to fans along with his team, Schmidt Peterson. For quite some time, neither party has disclosed to the public the state of his spinal injuries that had been declared “unknown” by doctors in previous statements.

In mid-September, Wickens posted a video for fans that had him speaking to them for the very first time since the accident. In it, he sounded cheerful and spoke with a great and positive outlook, saying he is “trying to get back to 100% as soon as possible” adding that it was “unknown” what the future holds.

The Statement

The 29-year-old Canadian motorsports star posted a video on Thursday, October 25th, 2018 of his “first slide transfer as a paraplegic” and said that while he’s only been sharing videos of him moving in small ways, the truth of the matter is that there is a great deal more work to be done.

“The reality is I am far away from walking on my own,” he wrote in the video’s caption. “Some people are a bit confused with the severity of my injury, so I wanted to let you know the reality of it. I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life, and I am giving it all I’ve got to spark those nerves in my legs.”

Following his statement, it appears that there was mass confusion about what he meant when he called himself “paraplegic” and what that meant for how he is paralyzed.

“I just wanted to clarify a few things,” Wickens tweeted alongside a statement. “There seems to be some confusion about what the word “paraplegic” really means.”

In his statement, he reveals that while he is currently paralyzed, there was no “revelation” of his condition and it should have been known from the start. He also reveals that he isn’t planning on being paralyzed forever.

“There was no ‘announcement’ to confirm I was paralyzed,” the statement begins. “I’ve been paralyzed the very moment I hit the fence pole in Pocono.”

“Paralyzed and paraplegic are paralysis from the level of injury on the lower half. I’m paralyzed from the chest down. The level of my injury which is T4. People may not be paraplegics forever. Since my spinal cord injury was ‘incomplete’ the nerves may be able to find a way back to my legs.”

“We can not tell you a definitive answer if I will walk again,” he continued. “But I have full intentions of doing just that!”

Read Robert Wickens’ full statement below. Our thoughts and prayers are with him as he works towards a full recovery and we pray that he will be walking in no time! 

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