Canadian IndyCar Series driver Wickens confirms paralysis in legs

Canadian driver Robert Wickens (Matt Slocum/AP)

IndyCar driver Robert Wickens is paralyzed from the waist down from injuries suffered in an August crash at Pocono Raceway.

The 29-year-old Wickens has been updating his rehabilitation progress on social media and posted a video Thursday of his "first slide transfer as a paraplegic" that showed him moving from a table to his wheelchair . His videos had shown for the past month that he is working daily to move his legs again, but Thursday’s post was the first time he publicly confirmed his paralysis.

"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," Wickens wrote. "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 recently left an Indianapolis rehabilitation facility for one in Colorado.

The Canadian crashed at Pocono on Aug. 19 and suffered a thoracic spinal fracture, spinal cord injury, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, fractures in both hands, fractured right forearm, fractured elbow, four fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion.

The 29-year-old from Guelph, Ont., was attempting to pass Ryan Hunter-Reay when the two cars slightly touched. That caused Hunter-Reay’s car to careen into the wall and Wickens’ car was pulled along for the ride. Once Wickens’ car soared over Hunter-Reay’s and hit the fence, it spun round and round like a top.

The fencing was shredded and Wickens’ car was reduced to just the tub, which came to a rest on the track along an interior wall.

Alexander Rossi won the race and said it was "tough to celebrate" with Wickens in the hospital.

Fellow Canadian James Hinchcliffe suffered a minor injury in the crash.

Earlier Thursday, three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart told The Associated Press he is reconsidering a return to the Indianapolis 500 because of Wickens’ crash.

A video earlier this week showed Wickens successfully moving each leg slightly and he declared he’d be dancing in no time. He is scheduled to be married next September and fiance Karli Woods also posts regular videos to her Instagram stories of Wickens’ rehabilitation.

Hinchcliffe and Wickens formed the all-Canadian Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team this season. The two raced each other as young drivers in Toronto and Hinchcliffe helped lure Wickens to IndyCar this season after a successful career in Europe.

Hinchcliffe, from Oakville, Ont., survived his own life-threatening injury when a broken part from his car pierced an artery during a 2015 crash at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe would have bled to death if not for the medical team holding the artery together as it raced him from the track directly to a hospital.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.