The Challenge’s Nelson Thomas is facing another obstacle nearly one year after being seriously injured in a car crash.
Thomas, 35, announced on Sunday, February 11, that he will undergo surgery to amputate his foot on the first anniversary of the accident.
“March 5, 2023 remains vivid in my memory, a persistent presence in my thoughts,” Thomas wrote via Instagram. “I consciously embrace it as the initiation of a new chapter. Opting for amputation, I am determined to own March 5 and redefine its significance in my life.”
He added: “Get ready, amputation world! I’m on my way! I am scheduled for surgery on March 5, 2024.”
Thomas’ post showed photos from the crash and its aftermath, along with a recording of him discussing the operation with his doctor.
“I have to ask myself what kind of life I want to live and the quality of life I want to live,” he said in the clip. “I think I’m at peace with it and it’s time.”
The MTV star previously shared a video of himself working out in the gym. “Let’s embrace the challenges, face the storm head on, and conquer adversity. I won’t run away. I’ll run towards my challenges, leaving a lasting impact that people won’t forget….” he captioned the post.
In March 2023, Thomas was pulled out of a flaming vehicle by Minnesota Vikings player K.J. Osborn and three other strangers in Austin, Texas. He sustained an ankle injury during the accident and underwent multiple surgeries. (Us Weekly later confirmed that Thomas was charged with a misdemeanor DWI for the incident.)
“The bone has been rebroken, it is out of place. It’s not healing it all,” Thomas tearfully said in an emotional September 2023 Instagram video. “I’ve been having pain these last two weeks, but I thought it was from me maybe overworking it in PT and in the gym. Come to find out, where they have the screws and plates, the bone broke. It did not reheal.”
Thomas learned from his doctor that his condition was so severe that he had only two choices left: amputation or an ankle fusion surgery, a procedure that joins the ankle bone as a single unit and is often used for arthritis patients, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Thomas stated at the time that he was going to get a second opinion.
The following month, Thomas said that after seeing three specialists, he was going to give stem cell research a chance since he was “scared” of having another procedure. The reality star revealed his plans to go to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to receive treatment before opting for surgery.
“I have finally made my decision on the route I’m going to take. I want to thank the man upstairs and everyone who has supported me on this journey,” Thomas captioned an October 2023 Instagram Reel. “I am deeply grateful to my @dr.akhan, and I can’t wait to move forward with the procedure. Off to Mexico tomorrow! What’s that saying? Viva, viva la Mexico aka Cabo ✈️🧬.”
Thomas began his reality TV career on MTV’s Are You the One? He continued to compete on The Challenge, appearing on nine seasons since 2016. Despite reaching the final round twice, he failed to win. Thomas has the dubious distinction of losing 54 daily challenges in a row, the worst streak for any male competitor.