IndyCar driver Wickens confirms he is a paraplegic

Robert Wickens (AP)
Robert Wickens (AP)

Los Angeles - Canadian IndyCar driver Robert Wickens announced on Thursday that he is paralyzed from the waist down. 

The Guelph, Ontario native suffered serious injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine in a horrific multi race car smash on August 19 at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania. 

"Did my first slide transfer as a paraplegic today," Wickens wrote on his Twitter account. 

Wickens, whose car went airborne after a collision with the car of Ryan Hunter-Reay and slammed into a retaining fence at Pocono, underwent earlier surgery to insert titanium rods and screws for stabilising his fractured spine as well as surgery on broken legs and a broken right arm. He also suffered bruised lungs. 

The 29-year-old Wickens posted a video of himself working out at a rehab facility and being helped into a wheelchair while wearing a back brace and giant padded boots. 

"My upper body is getting stronger and stronger and hopefully I'll be able to do it unassisted soon," he said. 

"I have 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 to let you know the reality of it." 

Wickens said he is determined to see if he can get some movement in his legs again. 

"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 had top finishes of second at the Phoenix and Mid-Ohio races.

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