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Jimmy Jan returns to Perisher to ski after breaking his back: Inspiring TikTok star

A 22-year-old medical student who was left paralysed for life after a horror skiing accident in 2021 has returned to the slopes a year on. 

Jimmy Jan, from Newcastle, New South Wales, has won millions of followers on TikTok for his optimistic attitude while documenting his rehabilitation and life in a wheelchair. 

He broke his back on August 9, 2021, at Perisher Ski Resort after performing a jump incorrectly at a high speed, landing on his head and crushing his spine. 

The self-confessed adrenaline junkie started learning to ski again in June with teacher Tom Hodgiflora, a disabled wintersport and Paralympic development coach. 

A 22-year-old medical student who was left paralysed for life after a horror skiing accident in August 2021 has returned to the slopes just a year on

Pictured in 2021

Pictured in 2022 returning to the slopes

Jimmy Jan , from Newcastle, New South Wales, has won millions of followers on TikTok for his optimistic attitude while documenting his rehabilitation and life in a wheelchair

‘Pretty stoked to be back on the snow again after last year’s setback…,’ he wrote in a tongue-in-cheek post at the time.

‘This Jimmy will try and be safer, no promises though.’

And after two months of practice, Jimmy commemorated the day of his accident by hitting the slopes on his sit ski (adaptive ski equipment for those can’t ski standing).

‘The big 12 months anniversary of the skiing accident that left me with a spinal cord injury. Pretty stoked to spend the day back on the snow with some of the best,’ he wrote. 

And after two months of practice, Jimmy commemorated the day of his accident - August 9 - by hitting the slopes on his sit ski (adaptive ski equipment for those can't ski standing)

And after two months of practice, Jimmy commemorated the day of his accident – August 9 – by hitting the slopes on his sit ski (adaptive ski equipment for those can’t ski standing)

'It's okay to fall down, but make sure you don't stay down for too long,' he said in the video

'It's okay to fall down, but make sure you don't stay down for too long,' he said in the video

‘It’s okay to fall down, but make sure you don’t stay down for too long,’ he said in the video

‘This time last year i was waking up in ICU after a big fat surgery, and today I’m pretty happy to not be waking up in a hospital, and driving back up the mountain for another day.

‘It’s okay to fall down, but make sure you don’t stay down for too long.’

Jimmy has drawn praise from millions for his optimistic and cheeky TikTok videos after the accident that saw him break his back during a quick morning ski run.

Jimmy had moved to Perisher for a snow season after Covid-19 led to him studying online for the semester.

That morning during a ski before an afternoon class  Jimmy landed on his head and broke his back during the fateful jump. 

Jimmy is determined to continue the active lifestyle he led before the accident (pictured)

Jimmy is determined to continue the active lifestyle he led before the accident (pictured)

'This time last year i was waking up in ICU after a big fat surgery, and today I'm pretty happy to not be waking up in a hospital, and driving back up the mountain for another day,' he said

‘This time last year i was waking up in ICU after a big fat surgery, and today I’m pretty happy to not be waking up in a hospital, and driving back up the mountain for another day,’ he said

‘I landed the first jump, easy peasy, and was approaching the second jump which is considerably larger and I had some considerable speed going,’ Jimmy said in a video.

‘I’m hitting the second jump, I get to the top and I didn’t have my weight where it needed to be. So I performed the world’s worst backflip, and not on purpose.

‘I caught a few metres of air and remember thinking “oh cr*p, this is going to hurt”, and that’s the last thing I remember because a few seconds later I landed directly on my head and lost consciousness.’

He was then rushed to the medical centre where he started experiencing pain is his chest and found it difficult to breathe.

But the young medical student maintains a positive attitude despite the situation, and shared the details in a series of TikTok videos

But the young medical student maintains a positive attitude despite the situation, and shared the details in a series of TikTok videos 

They then cut off his snow gear in order to X-ray his whole body.

But he was more concerned about doctors cutting his expensive ski attire into pieces and how he smelt than the damage he had done to his body.

‘You’re probably wondering what was going through my head at that point and my first thought was: “Oh no, they just cut my favourite jumper into shreds”.’

‘My second thought was: “Oh no, this is the fourth day in a row I’ve worn these thermals without washing them, I’m pretty sure I stink right now”.’

Jimmy woke up on the snow surrounded by witnesses and ski patrols who asked if he was okay and if he could move his toes, which he couldn’t.

‘That was the moment I knew things probably weren’t going well,’ he said. 

'I caught a few metres of air and remember thinking 'oh crap, this is going to hurt', and that's the last thing I remember because a few seconds later I landed directly on my head and lost consciousness,' he said

'I caught a few metres of air and remember thinking 'oh crap, this is going to hurt', and that's the last thing I remember because a few seconds later I landed directly on my head and lost consciousness,' he said

‘I caught a few metres of air and remember thinking ‘oh crap, this is going to hurt’, and that’s the last thing I remember because a few seconds later I landed directly on my head and lost consciousness,’ he said 

X-rays show Jimmy had broken a fracture in his spine significantly and was airlifted to the nearest hospital for emergency surgery

Doctors told Jimmy during the surgery they decompressed his spinal cord and stabilised the fractures with screws and rods

Doctors told Jimmy during the surgery they decompressed his spinal cord and stabilised the fractures with screws and rods (right)

X-rays revealed Jimmy had broken a fracture in his spine and was airlifted to the nearest hospital for emergency surgery.

Before leaving he asked the medical workers if they could collect his laptop, headphones, phone charger, toothbrush and other necessities from his van that was parked on top of the snow mountain, which they did.

Soon after arriving at the hospital doctors performed spinal surgery then Jimmy woke up pain-free in ICU.

Doctors told Jimmy during the surgery they decompressed his spinal cord and stabilised the fractures with screws and rods.

Reflecting back on the day of the incident, Jimmy didn't cry or scream but instead simply took a selfie with the caption 'oopsie' which he saved to his phone

Reflecting back on the day of the incident, Jimmy didn’t cry or scream but instead simply took a selfie with the caption ‘oopsie’ which he saved to his phone 

He shares regular updates on his TikTok account where he has more than 600,000 followers and 10million views where he is regularly praised for his attitude

He shares regular updates on his TikTok account where he has more than 600,000 followers and 10million views where he is regularly praised for his attitude

Jimmy claims he was told the likelihood of any sensation returning below his hips as  his level of injury is about two per cent.

He shares regular updates on his TikTok account where he has more than 600,000 followers and 10million views where he is regularly praised for his attitude.

‘You’re single-handedly the most inspiring person i’ve ever seen on this app. You’re like sunshine in human form,’ one person wrote.

‘I love this attitude because all too often we get mad at ourselves and beat ourselves up. This is a much healthier attitude,’ another added.

A third said: ‘Your spirit is contagious.’

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