Canadian IndyCar Series driver Robert Wickens, who was involved in a horrific crash on Aug. 19, announced Thursday that his legs are paralyzed.
Wickens, 29, sustained a thoracic spinal fracture, a spinal cord injury and other serious injuries during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.
On Thursday, he posted a video on his Instagram account, showing him picking up his legs and moving them as he slid himself off a table into a wheelchair.
Accompanying the video, he wrote, “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, James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Pietro Fittipaldi and Takuma Sato were the drivers involved in the Aug. 19 crash. Hunter-Reay and Wickens made the initial contact, and Wickens’ car became airborne. The nose of the car hit the outside wall as the car traveled at full speed. Debris flew across the track, and Wickens’ car damaged the fence.
Last month, Wickens’ IndyCar team, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, confirmed the full extent of the driver’s injuries. In addition to the spinal injuries, he sustained a neck fracture, tibial and fibular fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, a fractured right forearm, a fractured elbow, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion.
Wickens competed in 14 IndyCar races this season and won the circuit’s Rookie of the Year award. He earned the pole for the race in St. Petersburg, Fla., and he finished second in two races. Wickens placed in the top five in seven races.
—Field Level Media