Olympic spirit can last a lifetime.

Former Olympian high jumper Jamie Nieto, 39, was paralyzed during a routine training in California last Saturday. According to TMZ, Nieto was coaching Olympic hopefuls in Los Angeles when he landed on his head during a backflip, suffering a spinal injury so severe that he reported having no feeling or mobility in his arms and legs.

He was be flown to the USC Trauma Center, reported the AP, where he underwent disk fusion surgery, and is recovering sensation in his hands and feet. He posted a video, recorded from his hospital bed, where he reported  that he’s able to “move more stuff” and is breathing better.

In true Olympic-strength style, Nieto, who is retired from competition, plans to report the progress of his recovery every step of the way.

On the video he says that, “I’d like to thank God I’m alive,” adding that, “A lot of things come into perspective when something like this happens…One day you’re floating along and life is going well and everything is cool. Maybe you get in a car accident or do training things and flip and hit your head. You never know what can happen.”

Compounding the struggle, Nieto is without health insurance. His fellow athletes have stepped up to help cover the medical costs.

Hurdler Lolo Jones is one of those athletes. She posted an emotional video on Athlete Biz, in which she says of her good friend, “He will have to have months of rehab just to fight to be able to step again. This is someone who was one of the most elite athletes in the world.”

So far, in less than a week after the accident, the Jamie Nieto Fund, information about which can be found on Athlete Biz (along with Nieto’s video and details about his injury, recovery, and background), has raised $52,000.

Look out for #MoreThanATeam and visit Athlete Biz to support the Olympian.

“He was the unspoken team captain,” Jones said. “I beg of you to please donate to him now so that we can help him get back on his feet so he soar to great heights once again.”

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