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Paralyzed Jockey Can Now Drive

Published: January 12, 2017 12:22 pm ET

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In June of 2015, Manitoba Thoroughbred jockey Alyssa Selman was left paralyzed after a racing accident at Assiniboia Downs. She could use her arms, but lost all feeling from the chest down. In a great development to the story, it has been reported that Selman can now drive an automobile and is starting to make some other progress, as well.

According to the CBC, on January 4, Selman drove a vehicle again for the first time, thanks to a ‘push-rock’ system that utilizes a lever which allows her to operate her car without using her legs.

Selman had to be cleared by Manitoba Public Insurance and health officials in order to drive. The six-month process included a 40-minute simulation, and road test which took an hour, and an interview with the MPI.

"I don't even know where to begin,” Selman told the CBC. “Just the past four days, being able to drive, I have been driving. I have been going somewhere every day, just because I can."

She went on to say that, naturally, she wanted to move her legs, at first. “You just want to push on the gas or the brake, usually the brake. It's tricky, the first couple of times," she said. "Maybe the first two days I had to think about it, and then it was natural."

In addition to driving, Selman has said that she is hoping to be able to go horseback riding soon, courtesy of a special saddle which would allow her to ride without using her legs.

Even more promising is the news that Selman can now flex some muscles in her abdomen.

"I don't know if it means there would be anything more coming back, or this is it,” she said. “Nobody knows anything. But it's good. I just know it's good.”

(With files from the CBC)

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