Motorsport: Drifting sensation 'Mad Mike' Whiddett back on his feet for Wings for Life World Run

Drifting sensation 'Mad Mike' Whiddett was once told he would never walk again, after a motorcross crash left him with four fractured vertebrae and ruptured disks in his back.

That's why, at 11pm Sunday, Whiddett and 120 thousand others around the globe will race the Wings for Life World Run, an event that has raised nearly $50 million for spinal cord research and injuries since 2014.

Back in 2002, when drifting wasn't even on his radar, Whiddett had his eye on motocross, when he went to America.

He was performing at the X-Air in Hamilton and one jump nearly changed his life for good.

"I was trying to do a 'Steriliser'," Whiddett tells Newshub. "The problem was I just had too much adrenalin and a gust of tail wind.

"I hit the ramp too hard, too fast, and cleared the whole downramp and flat landed.

"My back went that way and my neck went that way, and I cracked my helmet on the swing arm."

The fall knocked the wind out of him, but also bounced him back onto his feet.

He was in serious pain, but because he happened to be standing, the commentator figured he was fine. He egged Whiddett on, asking if he was going to get back out there.

Forever the showman, Whiddett didn't want to disappoint. Despite the pain, he hopped in a van and started cruising around, showing off for the crowd, but that's when he realised something was terribly wrong.

"I just remember the pedals going this crazy mushy feeling, and this pins and needles I had never felt before, and it freaked me out," Whiddett says. "I just opened the van door, took about three steps and just collapsed, and then, click, [the feeling in his legs] was gone.

"I'm punching my legs, I'm swearing and cursing that I cant feel my fricken legs.

"I'm telling my mates to kick my fricken legs, and then I raced off to hospital and got told I wouldn't walk again."

Doctors told him he would be paralysed for life, but he was so high on hospital drugs, the significance of the news didn't hit home.

Luckily for Whiddett, the feeling in his legs did kick in less that 24 hours later, a feeling he has never forgotten.

"Man, I was freaking out, swearing," he adds. "I was like, 'F**k, I can feel my feet!"

The swelling from the accident actually pinched a nerve in his back, which caused the temporary loss of feeling in his legs.

Whiddett knows just how lucky he is, particularly in an industry where pushing the limits can be the aim of the game.

"I've got a lot of friends that haven't been able to recover from a spinal cord injury."

That's why he's lacing up in the Wings for Life World Run to help raise money and awareness for the very injury that doctors thought would confine him to a wheelchair for the rest of his life."

For more information on the race and how to donate, visit:

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