Robert Wickens is breathing without medical assistance for the first time since sustaining multiple injuries in an IndyCar crash at Pocono Raceway six days ago, allowing the Canadian to talk with his family.

Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Wickens was involved in a multi-car incident on the opening lap of the Pocono race that resulted in his car being thrown into the catch fencing.

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Wickens was reported to be "awake and alert" in the aftermath of the incident before being taken to the local Lehigh Valley Hospital, where the Canadian has since undergone multiple surgeries this week for injuries to his spinal cord, lower extremities and right arm.

In an update issued by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports on Saturday night ahead of the IndyCar race at Gateway, it was confirmed that Wickens was now breathing unassisted and able to talk with his family - both firsts since his accident.

“For the first time following his Aug. 19 accident at Pocono Raceway, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver Robert Wickens is breathing without medical assistance and speaking with his family,” the statement reads.

“Robert’s family and the entire SPM organisation are very pleased to share this information and wish everyone a safe event tonight in St. Louis.”

Wickens’ teammate, James Hinchcliffe, was the sole entrant for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports to the Bommarito 500 at Gateway, and recorded a 15th-place finish.

The race was won by Penske’s Will Power ahead of Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon, with the trio being covered by 67 points at the top of the drivers’ standings with two races remaining this year.

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