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This Paralyzed Former Race Car Driver Is Able To Drive Again

Sam Schmidt was paralyzed in a crash in 2000, and he probably thought he'd never drive again.

Nevada recently became the first state to issue a driver’s license to a quadriplegic. Yes, you read that correctly: A man who’s lost functioning in all four limbs is now able to legally operate a motor vehicle.

Sam Schmidt is a former Indy car driver who crashed in January of 2000 at the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando. The tragic accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. Now, some 16 years later, Schmidt is once again back behind the wheel.

KNTV/YouTube

According to KTNV in Las Vegas, Schmidt hooked up with a company called Arrow Electronics three years ago. The company contacted Schmidt about creating a vehicle he could control, even without the use of his arms and legs.

“He immediately said if you build it, I will drive it,” Joe Verrengia with Arrow Electronics told the Las Vegas TV station.

KNTV/YouTube

This September, Arrow Electronics turned the wheel over to Schmidt for the first time. Schmidt is able to control the custom-built car with his head and mouth. If he turns his head, the car turns. If he blows into a straw, the car goes faster. When he sucks the air back in, it brakes.

Incredibly, Schmidt is legally able to drive his new car in the state of Nevada. There are still a few restrictions—he can’t drive by himself or in bad weather, for example—but it’s back to life in the fast lane, which is an achievement all by itself.

“It was this amazing sense of feeling normal again, which doesn’t happen very often… in this situation,” Schmidt told KTNV.

KNTV/YouTube