Robert Wickens, IndyCar, 2018

Wickens confirms he suffered paralysis in Pocono crash


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IndyCar driver Robert Wickens has confirmed on social media he suffered paralysis of his legs as a result of his violent crash at Pocono last August.

Wickens shared a video of himself on social media of himself climbing into a wheelchair.

“Did my first slide transfer as a paraplegic today,” Wickens wrote. “My upper body is getting stronger everyday.”

Wickens had previously distributed a video showing slight movement in his legs. “I’ve only been posting videos of the small movement in my legs,” he explained, “but the reality is I am far away from walking on my own.”

“I’ve never worked harder for anything in my life. More to come!”

This article will be updated.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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23 comments on “Wickens confirms he suffered paralysis in Pocono crash”

  1. Oh, that is incredibly sad. :-(

    I hope this incident gives impetus to all forms of motorsport to once again take a look at safety measures in place.

    1. +1
      I feel awful for him. Can’t believe just how positive he’s been about the whole situation. Always has a smile and its clearly not a fake for the camera smile.
      I lesser man would be completely broken by this (aka me!).

      Robert, Billy and Alex are absolute inspirations. (Sorry to others that I’ve not name checked, but these three are specific heroes to me).

      1. @eurobrun too true, they really are incredible examples of how to deal with the slings and arrows life can throw at a person. they must also have amazing support networks (family, clinicians, carers, physios and so on) who should be saluted as well.

      2. [A] lesser man would be completely broken by this (aka me!).

        @eurobrun @frood19 – very, very good points.

        I’ve always been of the opinion that we shouldn’t put sport or movie stars on pedestals and hero worship them. I realize there is an exception to the rule – people in such a situation are the men and women who are the true heroes in showing us how to tackle adversity. And it’s not just motorsport, but any walk of life.

      3. I lesser man would be completely broken by this (aka me!).

        no you wouldn’t @eurobrun, that’s the beauty of us, humans, we see suffering from others and think how on hell do this people endure this, but when it happens to us something clicks on our brains and we just have to get on with it, and it is amazing that whatever happens, tomorrow the sun will rise again and we get one day closer to be a new version of our-self’s, maybe different, but not necessarily worse. Time is often our worst enemy, with our short lifespan, but it does help a lot too

        We don’t need to feel sorry, or awful or even sad for the others, we just need to support them on their battle, it is a much better help.

        And yes, sometimes and leave sarcasm aside and say some serious stuff, don’t get used to it though

        1. One thing, if you are poor and have no medical insurance, it is very hard to be as positive as Wickens is. He will get by financially if he never races again, and that helps the mind incredibly. Imagine if he was a homeless person in New York., he would drag his body around and sleep in flee infested old rugs.

          1. healthcare systems do go a long way, sometimes I forget other realities, especially in this case which happens to be in the USA

    2. Exactly, cause I’m willing to bet he’d have been better off had the car made contact with a much more firmer retaining wall. Those catch fences are a hidden danger. It’s always painful to see these racers encounter very serious injuries. Lets just hope he quickly regains some of his abilities.

  2. i really like what Robert is doing with his twitter account. Everything he posts feels genuine, heartfelt and always positive, while keeping his fans up to date with the progress on his new journey. Get well, buddy, we’re all rooting for you!

  3. Not much to say other than wishing him a super speedy recovery…

  4. Good that he has found the courage to admit to himself, to show the world how hard it will be. It is inspiring to see athletes like him, like Billy Monger, Kubica and Zanardi show how they don’t give up, keep fighting and became even greater people while doing so.

    Hope to see him up and going again.

    1. @bascb – nice comment & sentiment!

    2. Well said. Wholeheartedly agree.

  5. Alonso has to ask himself whether chasing this mythical ‘triple crown’ is worth the risk.

  6. It looks like he’s been hit way harder than everybody thought, I’d be surprised if he walks again one day. Best wishes to him and hope for the best possible recovery!

  7. Here’s hoping IndyCar continues to support a man who ostensibly lost the rest of his career in one of their chassis. Don’t make the mistake and just forget him, like other sports might do with their damaged athletes.

    1. Good point, @eastman – hope this tragic accident prompts Indy to redesign the catch fences to keep both the fans and drivers safer.

      Kudos to Wickens for sharing his inspiring courage and conviction after this hideous accident. We won’t forget.

  8. Very sad indeed but amid the horrible circumstances of this, one must be grateful that this accident didnt end up with spinal cord damage in the neck or a serious brain injury.

  9. Wow, this was incredible to read and watch. It reminded me of the day Robert Kubica came to do his first motorsport event since his crash and after about 20 surgeries, we could all see he was mangled and not his old self, mangled hand, limping. Wickens can still be a competitive racer even if he doesn’t regain full use of legs. I wish the Schumacher family were more forthcoming of Michael’s situation. I don’t think there would be any shame in telling the world Michael is a quadraplegic with no communicative ability, he is still a person and alive, and medicine is advancing. I wish they did come forward, as it would make people more aware of spinal injuries, a d help us all to test spinally injured people as still normal people.

    1. Fine comment

  10. F’n Ovals…

  11. God speed Robert!

  12. Grateful for the courage of Robert Wickens in dealing with this tragedy. He appears to have the will and determination to do what ever it takes, no matter how hard, to go as far as he can to beat this. The same will and determination that has made him a formidable racer will carry him far. He also has the inspiration of people like Alex Zanardi to give him hope.

    A few times in my fifty plus years of watching F1, IndyCar and other forms of racing I have stopped watching racing for a period of time. I was only twelve when Jim Clark died and at that age it was difficult to process. Later with Mark Donohue and even later with Senna it made me question the value of entertainment vs. the risk to who are essentially our racing heroes.

    One of the losses that affected me the most was Greg Moore’s death. He had recently signed with Penske for a well deserved seat on the arguably best team. I was so happy for him. Watching his car spinning and sliding and careening into the wall at California Speedway was horrible and unforgettable. You knew it was bad. Real bad. The race kept going. No word of Greg Moore until later. The race did continue, but with no celebrations at the end. When the pronouncement of his death came later it was hardly a surprise.

    Years later I worked for a NASCAR Grand National series champion as webmaster and photographer. Two years in a row he raced at that track and even won there once. First time arriving at the track and walking around in the pits and infield all I could think about was Greg Moore. His crash playing over and over in my mind, sliding and sliding. Trying to see exactly where it took place. They have reconfigured the infield area since his crash. Ironic that our driver won that night in a race where a couple of the leaders crashed out on the back straight. Not tragically, thank goodness. So, a lot of celebration that evening, but still bittersweet for me.

    Alex Zanardi nearly died in his horrific crash. Thanks to the swift work of the medical team, he survived. Today he is an inspiration to many and not limited to race car drivers involved in accidents. He has also been able to take up racing again which inspires me as a fan to keep watching and pressing for more safety and to not give up on the sport.

    I am praying for Robert Wickens to have the strength and courage to help him through his recovery and whatever lies ahead for him.

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