Austrian snowboarder Markus Schairer posted a selfie on Instagram a day after he suffered a broken neck while competing at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea — and assured worried fans that he’s going to be okay.
Schairer, 30, experienced a horrifying crash while finishing his run in the men’s snowboardcross event Thursday, which saw him lose control while high in the air and crash land on his back.
The accident left the snowboarder unable to move for minutes until he reportedly sat up, strapped on his board and miraculously finished the race while waving to the crowd. He was quickly taken to a local hospital where it was determined he broke the fifth cervical vertebra in his neck. Schairer suffered no long-term neurological damage, but the injury meant his Olympic run was over.
On Friday, Schairer posted a black and white picture of himself to his Instagram account, which shows him with a brace around his neck. He included a triumphant — but nonethelese heartbreaking — caption with the photograph, which touched upon his sadness that he would not be able to go for Olympic gold.
“My dream did not come true. I [did] not bring home gold, silver or [bronze]. Instead I’m wearing my own personal [medal] now,” he wrote. “Honestly, I had more than one guardian [angel].”
He is expected to be able to walk again soon, Schairer added.
“When such things happen, you really start knowing whats important!” Schairer wrote, before congratulating the snowboarders who medaled in the event: Regino Hernandez, Jarryd Hughes and Pierre Vaultier.
Commenters left dozens of comments on Schairer’s picture to express get-well wishes. Many also wrote to the snowboarder to describe their reaction to seeing the shocking crash.
“Best wishes to a speedy recovery, watched the crash on TV it was horrific!” wrote one user. “This isn’t your last Olympics.”
Schairer is no stranger to injuries, as he tore four ligaments in his left shoulder while training at the end of 2013, and broke five ribs at the Winter X Games in Aspen in 2010, according to ESPN. He also ruptured a ligament in his knee during 2008, and injured his elbow in an earlier event on Thursday before the horrifying crash.
The Austrian Olympic Committee said in a statement that Schairer would fly back to Austria to receive further treatment.