Jamie Nieto suffered spinal cord trauma after a back flip during a training session.
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Two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto made his first public comments after undergoing surgery to decompress his spine.
Nieto, 39, slipped while demonstrating a backflip during a training session with other athletes.
Nieto was experiencing partial paralysis due to spinal cord trauma. After surgery, he has regained some feeling and mobility in his hands and fingers.
“A lot of things come in to perspective when things like this happen,” Nieto says in a video posted by his friend. “It makes you realize that stuff like this can happen to anybody. One day you're floating along and you life is going well and everything is cool. Then maybe you get into a car accident or you're doing training things and flipping and you hit your head. You never know what can happen. You've got to take advantage of these times in your life, enjoy it, embrace your loved ones and do your best to be the best person that you can be to everyone you meet.”
Nieto was fourth in the high jump at the 2004 Olympics and sixth at the 2012 Summer Games in London. He has retired from professional competition and served as an assistant coach at UCLA and USC.
- Chris Chavez