An Olympic high jumper who has lived and trained in San Diego County is recovering after suffering a spinal injury in a freak accident.
Two-time Olympian and four-time USA Champion Jamie Nieto has trained at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista and hosted a number of track and field clinics for aspiring athletes.
Nieto was involved in a such an activity on Saturday at Azusa Pacific University when he tried to demonstrate his signature back flip to the students, according to NBC Olympics.
Nieto's foot slipped and he landed on his head, causing paralysis from the neck down.
An MRI showed the C3 and C4 vertebrae had been compressed and the disc between them had been forced forward into the spinal cord, NBC Olympics reported.
As of Tuesday, Nieto was recovering from surgery to remove the disc and fuse the spine at C3-C4.
Feeling is slowly returning to part of his body.
"The outlook remains positive that Jamie can still make a full recovery," his manager Paul Doyle told NBC Olympics.
An online fundraising campaign is asking for donations to help with medical expenses.
"He will have months of rehab just to fight just to be able to step again and this is someone who was one of the elite athletes in the world,” said Nieto’s friend, Olympic athlete Lolo Jones.