Nelson Thomas says he’s glad he’s alive after being in a serious car accident earlier this month, and the star of The challenge says he only got out because of NFL player K. J. Osborn and three others, who pulled Nelson from his burning car on March 5.
On Tuesday, Nelson took to Instagram to thank KJ and his friends for saving his life. He also posted photos of some of the gnarly injuries he sustained in the crash, which took place in Austin, Texas. (News of KJ and friends rescuing a man from the burning car broke last week; however, it was unknown until Tuesday that the man they rescued was Nelson.)
“I was involved in a car accident. I want to thank kJ: @kj_osborn_ @nfl @vikings for being on the scene and filming my rescue. I am forever grateful to Abdulmejied Hairedin: @_abdu6435, Rita: @Afri_qveen and Arthur: @Arthur_1er. Because they pulled me out of a burning vehicle and risked their own lives to save mine,” Nelson wrote.
“Words cannot explain how grateful I am to be alive. God is really great and He has you in His hands no matter who you are. I am in a good mood and getting stronger. This will be a long road to recovery, but to my fans, friends and family, please keep me in your prayers.
In the video taken by a bystander, the car can be seen on the side of the highway with the front half blazing with flames.
“Grab him, grab him!” shouted one of the rescuers.
“Can you move your legs?” the same person asked Nelson.
Two people are shown pulling Nelly T. out of the passenger side of the car. After some struggle, they managed to get ‘The Challenge’ vet away from the burning vehicle.
In his Instagram post, Nelson shared a photo of his bruised and swollen leg with several stitches. He shared another photo of his right forearm with long stitches halfway down his arm and a deep gash on his inner ankle.
A week before Nelson announced his accident, KJ – who plays wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings – talked about saving a human life. He described sitting in the back seat of his car when the Uber driver started yelling. The footballer looked up to see Nelson’s car catching fire against a pillar.
“At that moment I thought of the worst. I didn’t think this guy was alive,” KJ recalls. The Uber driver wanted to call the police, but KJ’s first thought was, “We’ve got to go rescue this guy.”
After getting closer to the flames, KJ feared the car might explode. However, Nelson was able to get closer to the passenger side and KJ managed to pull him out of the car a few feet away. The police and firefighters arrived shortly afterwards and told rescuers that they had saved Nelson’s life.
KJ posted photos of Nelson’s car wreck on Instagram last week, writing in the caption, “Usually the saying goes ‘wrong place, wrong time.’ But this time I believe that God had me, us, in the right place at the right time. Last night me and these 3 absolute heroes helped save a man’s life by rescuing him from a vehicle that went up in flames after a bad crash. A situation that I can never imagine not being with in a million years. I’ll leave you with this. God is real. And His LOVE is real. He will send his angels to camp around you and provide you with his grace and mercy.”
One of the other men who helped save Nelson’s life posted on Instagram Stories on Tuesday.
“God is good,” wrote the man, named Arthur. “The moment I saw that car catch fire, I saw it like a movie. I thought [Nelson] was already gone. Oh God, you exist, I swear. Your faithful orphan will always be your servant. We pray for your recovery.”
The ‘Challenge’ crew of Scuba Nelly shared their best wishes for his speedy recovery.
“Omg I’m so sorry! I hope you heal soon,” his ‘World Championship’ castmate Tori deal wrote.
Veterinarian ‘The Challenge’ Wes Bergmann replied, “Jesus Nelson, this is terrible. I am very sorry and I am confident that you will make it through this healing process like a breeze.”
Nelly’s ‘Ride or Die’ nurys mateo shared, “You are always in my prayers and now even more so! I pray for a speedy recovery but you are one of the strongest people I know so I know you have this. I love you ROD.”
It seems that KJ and Nelson are now forever linked by the heroic rescue.
NFL player @KJ_Osborn helped rescue a man from a burning car with his Uber driver and two other Good Samaritans.
“To be able to act on it with the other three heroes… I never thought I wouldn’t be a part of it in a million years.”
Thank you @CNN / @andersoncooper to share! pic.twitter.com/gmksCaEYoI
— Uber (@Uber) March 9, 2023
“Enclosed. Can’t wait to see you again and do what you love!” wrote the footballer in the comment section of Nelson’s post.
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(Photos: David Berding/Getty Images; MTV; Instagram)