After Robert Wickens wrote in an Instagram post that he is now "paraplegic," the IndyCar driver is setting the record straight

By Maura Hohman
October 30, 2018 03:00 PM
AUTO: AUG 19 IndyCar Series - ABC Supply 500
Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty

After Robert Wickens shocked fans by saying he is “paraplegic” in the caption of a video of himself in physical therapy, the IndyCar driver is setting the record straight about his condition.

On Twitter, the 29-year-old Canadian stated that he was paralyzed after crashing at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway in August — and that he didn’t intend for his earlier video to come across as a big reveal.

“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 … is T4,” he wrote. “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. Incomplete means the spinal cord was not severed, it was only bruised.”

Then, after explaining that every case of paralysis is different and that there’s no definitive path to recovery, he shared that he has “full intentions” of walking again.

“I already have most feeling and some movement back in my legs, so there is hope over the course of 24 months that I may regain enough movement to walk again!” Wickens informed followers. “So far the signs are promising, but I’m trying not to get ahead of myself! I am just keeping my head down and working until my therapist and doctors tell me to stop!”

Wickens also thanked his fans, writing, “You’re all a big part in helping me get back on my feet!”

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Last Thursday, the driver shared an Instagram video of himself wearing a back brace and a cast on each of his feet as he used his arms to move his legs around.

“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,” the driver captioned the clip. “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.”

According to CNN, the athlete’s car actually went airborne during the crash and hit a safety barrier. Then, it spun out and landed in the path of oncoming drivers.

Wickens started racing in 2001, according to his website, and has since competed in some of the most prestigious series in both North America and Europe.