IndyCar driver Robert Wickens, injured in a violent crash Aug. 19 at Pocono Raceway, confirmed Thursday night that he is paralyzed from the waist down.
The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver posted a note on Instagram on Thursday to provide clarity on the extent of his injuries.
Wickens, whose car got airborne and spun several times along the Pocono catch fence, suffered an injury to his spinal cord as well as a thoracic spinal fracture, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, four broken ribs, a broken right forearm, a broken elbow, fractures in both hands and a pulmonary contusion.
The 29-year-old rookie from Canada had top finishes of second at Phoenix and Mid-Ohio.
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Did my first slide transfer as a paraplegic today. My upper body is getting stronger and stronger and hopefully I’ll be able to do it unassisted soon. I’ve only been posting videos of the small movement in my legs, but the reality is I am far away from walking on my own. Some people are a bit confused with the severity of my injury, so I wanted 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. ??
Wickens tweeted video of his first “slide transfer” during rehabilitation on Thursday, pulling his legs off the side of a therapy table, then sliding himself into a wheelchair.
While the Canadian driver noted his “upper body is getting stronger every day,” he tweeted. “The reality is I am far away from walking on my own.”
“I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life. More to come!!” Wickens tweeted.
Sam Schmidt, who owns Wickens’ race team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, can be seen looking on in the video as Wickens moves himself into the wheelchair. Schmidt was paralyzed in an IndyCar practice crash at Walt Disney World Speedway in 2000. He continues to be an advocate for research through his charity Conquer Paralysis Now, and has worked with team sponsor Arrow Electronics on technology that has allowed him to drive with head and mouth controls.
Wickens has been receiving plenty of support from the motor racing world in the wake of his recovery.
Among the well-wishers was Force India driver Esteban Ocon. Replying to Wickens’ video, he wrote, “We are all behind you man! Keep pushing!! See you soon!”