The Challenge’s Nelson Thomas shows ‘before and after’ physique following hospitalization as castmates react

nelson thomas in the challenge world championship promo video
The Challenge’s Nelson Thomas says he doesn’t recognize who he sees in the mirror after hospitalization. Pic credit: @TheChallenge/YouTube

Nelson Thomas continues to recover after a serious car crash several months ago caused severe injuries, resulting in hospitalization, surgery, and rehabilitation.

However, The Challenge star has remained positive in his approach and has received plenty of love and support from castmates and fans during his journey.

He recently shared another update with everyone on social media, in which he mentioned the changes his body had undergone since the accident.

The latest Instagram post featured Nelson shirtless in “before and after” images to reveal his physique, and the reality TV star admitted he didn’t recognize himself now.

With the recent update, Nelson also revealed he was planning to return with a “vengeance” from his car accident and resulting injuries.

His visuals and message also brought in more love and support from castmates, including seven-time champion Johnny Bananas, and his friends, Cory Wharton, Faysal “Fessy” Shafaat, and Amanda Garcia.

Nelson reveals his ‘before and after’ physique following his car crash injuries

Taking to his Instagram on Tuesday evening, The Challenge’s Nelson uploaded two photos to compare his body before and after he’d spent three months in the hospital.

In a post tagged with #transformationtuesday and #2ndchance, Nelson indicated that his “injury has been traumatic” and that he doesn’t recognize himself now. However, it hasn’t stopped him.

“These are before and after pics after 3 months in the hospital. I don’t even recognize the man in the mirror. My body has changed so much but my mind and my faith are the same. I’m coming back with a vengeance…. 13:7,” he wrote in his caption.

The first photo shows a slimmed-down Nelson smiling while posed beside a wheelchair. His defined abdominal muscles and sculpted arms and shoulders are visible.

The second photo has a bulked-up Nelson with a pair of wireless headphones around his neck and that trademark Nelly T smile on his face. In both images, Nelson still looks to be in fantastic shape.

However, he is still doing rehabilitation for his injuries. Most of the rehab is focused on his lower body for the visibly swollen leg in his first IG photo (below), which is still healing from the surgery.

Several weeks ago, Nelson revealed that he had a muscle skin graft procedure to move skin and muscle from part of his lower right leg to the upper thigh area of his left leg. He’d also posted photos and videos of himself in a wheelchair and resting at home with his one leg elevated following the procedure.

His car accident occurred in early March in Texas. The reason behind the crash is unknown, but Nelson’s car was engulfed in flames on the roadside at night. Several individuals were passing by in an Uber ride, including NFL player KJ Osboron and his friends, so they stopped to help rescue Nelson from the burning car, then waited for medical personnel to arrive and attend to him.

Following the severe wreck, Nelson was hospitalized to address his lacerations and burns. After his initial release, he was rushed back to the hospital for more surgeries and treatment, including the muscle skin graft procedure and another related to fluid around his heart.

In a video last week, Nelson said he was “free” after being released from the hospital. The Challenge star has since been rehabilitating and getting treatment at home for his lower leg.

Castmates react to Nelson’s ‘before and after’ images

Nelson has received much love and support from fans of The Challenge and his castmates from the MTV competition series. Among those who left a comment on his “before and after” IG post was Teen Mom and Challenge star Cory Wharton.

“Only you would stay in shape you know i woulda took this time to let that Dad bod kick ALL THE WAY IN,” Cory joked with Nelly T.

His good friend Amanda told him he still looks “f***ing ripped” and that “If anyone can fight, it’s YOU!!!! Strongest guy I know.”

Fessy mentioned the “4 pack” still visible on Nelson’s midsection, while Bananas mentioned how inspirational it was to see his castmate’s journey.

“Stay strong brother, watching your journey has been an inspiration,” the seven-time champion wrote along with flexing muscle and praying hand emojis.

castmates of nelson the challenge comment on before and after pics
Pic credit: @_nelsonthomas/Instagram

Nelson last appeared as one of the MTV Legends in The Challenge: World Championship spinoff. He partnered with The Challenge: Argentina’s Sofia “Jujuy” Jimenez, who partnered with him as a global MVP. The duo were among the early eliminations of the season.

With his accident occurring several months ago, Nelson wasn’t available for The Challenge: USA 2 filming, which is set to premiere episodes in August. He also is unlikely to appear on The Challenge Season 39 (spoilers), which just started filming with its unique cast.

However, Nelson has plenty of love and support for his journey to recovery. In his previously mentioned video update, Nelson also vowed to return to The Challenge one day as a promise to fans, including superfan Dan Orlovsky from ESPN, who’d sent him a supportive video message.

The Challenge Season 39 is TBA for MTV. The Challenge: USA 2 premieres on Thursday, August 10 at 10/9c on CBS.

Episodes of The Challenge are now streaming on Paramount+. Try it FREE!

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