Robert Wickens knows he has a long road ahead of him after being rendered a paraplegic from injuries sustained in a horrific crash early in the ABC Supply 500 IndyCar race August 19 at Pocono Raceway.
The 29-year-old Canadian driver also knows the strong concern from his fans, media and the IndyCar community and how supportive they are for his recovery, rehabilitation and well-being.
Wickens publicly revealed for the first time late Thursday night on his Instagram account the extent of the spinal cord injury he suffered in the race, admitting he is a paraplegic, paralyzed from his chest down.
But Wickens is not letting his present condition impact his optimism for a better future condition.
One day after his Instagram post, Wickens took to Twitter to give further clarification on what he’s going through and what the future potentially holds.
Wickens vows in his lengthy tweet to walk again:
So we cannot tell you a definitive answer if I will walk again. But I have full intentions of doing just that.
Here’s the full text from Wickens’ most recent tweet:
“I just wanted to clarify a few things. There seems to be some confusion about what the word ‘paraplegic’ really means. Please read my statement below. Thank you all for your amazing support! You’re all a big part in helping me get back on my feet!
“There was no ‘announcement’ to confirm I was paralyzed. I’ve been paralyzed the moment I hit the fence pole in Pocono. We were very clear that I had a spinal cord injury in the press release issued by SPM (Schmidt-Peterson Motorsports), but I guess people are not aware of what that means and are just speculating.
“Paralyzed & paraplegic are paralysis from the level of injury on the lower half. I’m paralyzed from the chest down. The level of my injury which is T4.
“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. In months time the swelling will go down and we will learn more on how much nerve regeneration happens.
“The doctors have told us every SCI (spinal cord injury) is different. Two people with the same injury may heal differently. One may walk again and one may not. Each body heals differently. So we cannot tell you a definitive answer if I will walk again. But I have full intentions of doing just that.
“The good news is, 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! 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!
“Thank you for all your support! And I hope this has brought some clarity on all of this.
“PS – Sorry for the long read.”
Here is Wickens’ actual tweet:
Wickens was injured when his race car touched wheels with the car of Ryan Hunter-Reay. The impact sent Wickens’ Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda airborne and into the Turn 2 catchfence at Pocono Raceway.
Wickens’ car bounced off the fencing, spun several times in mid-air before landing on the racetrack, and ultimately came to rest against the interior retaining wall.
After a lengthy and careful extrication process, Wickens was airlifted to Lehigh Valley – Cedar Crest Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Upon examination, it was determined Wickens had suffered a spinal cord injury, thoracic spinal fracture, neck fracture, tibia and fibula fractures to both legs, four broken ribs, a broken right forearm, a broken elbow, fractures in both hands and a pulmonary contusion.
Wickens remained in the Allentown hospital for nearly two weeks before being moved to a hospital in Indianapolis. At both hospitals, he underwent several surgeries to treat his injuries.
He subsequently was moved to a rehabilitation facility near the Indianapolis hospital, and according to The Associated Press on Friday, has recently been relocated to another rehab facility in Colorado.