INDIANAPOLIS – Canadian driver Robert Wickens, who earned IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year honors this year despite missing the final three races of the season, confirmed via social media Thursday night that he is paralyzed from the waist down.
The official word from Wickens comes in the wake of his violent crash during the ABC Supply 500 on Aug. 19 at Pocono Raceway, where Wickens’ Honda went airborne in turn two and spun rapidly along the protective fencing surrounding the track before coming to rest.
In addition to his paralysis, other injuries Wickens suffered as a result of the crash included a thoracic spinal fracture, a 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.
Wickens posted a note on Instagram detailing his current status, along with a video of his continued rehabilitation work.
“(I) did my first slide transfer as a paraplegic today,” Wickens wrote. “My upper body is getting stronger and stronger, and hopefully I’ll be able to do it unassisted soon. I’ve only been posting videos of the small movement in my legs, but the reality is (that) I am far away from walking on my own.
“Some people are confused with the severity of my injury, so I wanted to let everyone 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 earned four podium finishes in 14 Indy car starts this season, including a pair of runner-up efforts at Arizona’s ISM Raceway and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The 29-year-old native of Toronto, Ontario ended the year 11th in the championship standings with 391 points, tied with his longtime friend and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Hinchcliffe.