You´re an inspiration, a fighter - that´s what you do: stay strong!
June 22, 2007 marked a day that the Action Sports World will remember for a life time. A day that has forever changed the life of Professional BMX Dirt Jumper & three times U.S. Gold Medalist Stephen Murray.
It was that on that day of June 22, 2007 at the first stop of the AST Dew Tour BMX Dirt finals in Baltimore, MD when Stephen Murray took a horrific fall, while in the middle of his second rotation of a double backflip. A fall that has been quoted as being “the worst crash ever seen” in BMX. A crash that would ultimately be career ending for this 27 years old athlete.
While he lay on the dirt course being attended to by medics & the trauma unit, it was clear to all, that Stephen had sustained severe head & neck injuries. Though no one would know exactly the extent of the damages, as his friends, teammates & fans would wait in shock and in disbelief as they watched the ambulance drive off, and rush Stephen to Baltimore Maryland’s Trauma Unit.
It was there and only hours later, that confirmed the worst news possible. After spending 7 hours in surgery, the doctors confirmed Stephen had crushed his 3, 4 and 5th cervical vertebrae and consequently suffered damage to his spinal chord. The surgery stabilized the chord and relieved some pressure. The front of his vertebrae was shattered and had been replaced.
Stephen Murray a young professional athlete, husband and father of two young boys, paralyzed from the shoulders down. His Mom would later tell us; “initially it wasn’t the news of Stephen being paralyzed that frightened us, but if “our Stephen” was going to make it through the night”.
Stephen Murray Athlete
Stephen Murray came to the United States from New Castle Great Britain over 10 years ago with a dream of riding with the best athletes in the sport. As he would be known to do, he set his goals high, to achieve what no one had yet accomplished. Stephen is quoted on his own riding style, “I go 110%, go big and send it!” (EXPN.com) set to prove his ability as the “underdog” an “unknown” to many, 2001 and 2002 marked the highest achievement for Stephen’s career. Winning Gold Medals in Dirt Jumping at the X Games and Back to Back Gold at the Gravity Games.
Unlike the NFL, NBA or other major professional sports organizations which have unions that provide funds to athletes who are injured, BMX has nothing like this. Each competing athlete is to carry his own health & life coverage and in fact, are required to sign a waiver agreement releasing any liability of the event promoter & sponsors, should injury or even death was to occur.
The action sports industry is a family-like-community, we have the potential of reaching out to millions to educate & bring awareness to the changes that need to be made in our sport in order to protect our athletes & their families.
A web site & fund has been set up in efforts to help provide financial support. For more information how to get involved with the Stephen Murray Fund please visit:
www.stephenmurrayfamilyfund.com & www.myspace.com/murraystrong