An Olympic high jumper who was paralysed after a backflip went wrong has posted a video from his hospital bed to let fans and friends know his condition is improving.

Retired US athlete Jamie Nieto had attempted his signature move but did not complete the rotation and slipped, landing on his head.

The accident happened a few days ago as he was coaching a group of jumpers in Los Angeles.

The 39-year-old athlete, who finished fourth at the 2004 Athens Olympics and sixth at the 2012 London Games, was taken to the USC Trauma Center after suffering numbness throughout his body.

He was unable to move his arms and legs and was struggling to breathe.

US athlete Jamie Nieto competes in the London Olympics

Nieto pictured competing in the 2012 London Olympics

Once at hospital, he began to regain some feeling in his hands and feet, but he could not move any of his limbs.

Nieto said: “I could still feel my body but it was numb and tingly and IĀ couldn’t move.”

However, he is now starting to “move more stuff” and is “breathing better”.

Test results indicated there were no breaks of the spine or cut in the spinal cord.

He said a disc in his neck slipped and hit a nerve.

He has now had surgery and each day he is regaining strength.

In his video, he said: “A lot of things come into perspective when something like this happens – makes you realise stuff like this can happen to anybody.

“One day you’re floating along and life is going well and everything is cool.

“Maybe you get in a car accident or do training things and flip and hit your head.

“You never know what can happen.

“I’d like to thank God I’m still alive.”

He has also thanked people for their support:

“For me, seeing the overwhelming response really let me know how many peoples’ lives that I’ve touched.”

Nieto does not have health insurance but fellow athletes have helped him out with medical costs by setting up a fund page that has already raised tens of thousands of dollars.

His agent Paul Doyle has said there is a positive outlook and Nieto could make a full recovery.