Shane Hmiel, who was paralyzed in October after being critically injured during qualifying for the U.S. Auto Racing Club's Silver Crown race in Indiana, has regained the use of his limbs and hopes to one day return to a race car.
"That's all he wants to think about," said Hmiel's father, Steve, the managing director at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. "In fact, when they put the eight-inch rod in his back the [doctors] made sure the rod was placed where he could sit in a race car comfortably."
Shane Hmiel, who was banned for life from NASCAR in 2006 after failing three drug tests, has been undergoing rehabilitation in Shepherd Center in Atlanta since moving out of intensive care in Indianapolis Medical Hospital.
His father said doctors are optimistic Shane will be able to walk with the aid of crutches or a walker within a year of the accident.
"He went there as a quadriplegic," Steve Hmiel said. "He couldn't breathe on his own. They didn't think he would ever get to breathe on his own or move. We were pretty downhearted, but were happy he was alive after the severity of the accident.
"Within a couple of days they had his lungs squared away. Shortly after, his arms were moving."
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