The Summer Olympics in Rio are right around the corner. While athletes are training for the games, one former Olympian, high jumper Jamie Nieto, is facing the biggest challenge of his life.
From his hospital bed, Nieto simply says, "I'd definitely like to thank God that I'm still alive," adding, "I just want to thank everybody for your support. I thank God that I'm alive."
Nieto, who competed in the 2004 and 2012 Olympics, recently suffered a neck injury that left him paralyzed. The former track star hit his head while attempting a back flip. A disc slipped and hit a nerve.
The doctors called it an "incomplete sever" leaving open a possibility of recovery. But even taking a breath has become a challenge.
Nieto is documenting his recovery process on social media. "My breathing is a little hampered, but that's getting better every day," Nieto said. "And my eating and swallowing is a little hampered, but that's getting better every day."
He has a long road ahead, but Nieto believes he will fully recover, thanks to God's healing power, prayer, and his own determination. The two-time Olympian has already shown signs of progress.
"I'm moving a lot better," he said. He also added it has been a tough experience, "relearning how to walk again, move my hands, and getting my feet moving again and stuff like that, but I'm getting stronger so it's getting better."
The athlete has always relied heavily on God during challenging situations. Before the 2012 Summer Games in London, Nieto spoke with CBN about how his faith is what motivates him.
He said he realized, "I've done everything I can do physically, mentally, but not spiritually." From that point on, he will let God take control. "I've been praying, I've been reading the Word because I want to be ready physically, mentally, and spiritually," he said.
Nieto wants his faith to be on full display for the glory of God.
"I want people to see that I'm blessed," he said. "I want them to see God exuding out of me -- my relationship with Him exuding out of me. When they see me jump I want them to know that God is working through me right now."
Nieto says being a Christian means that everything he does is not for himself, but for God and to glorify His name is everything he does.
*Our thoughts and prayers go out to the star athlete. CBN be updating you with Nieto's progress as his road to recovery continues.