On 22nd June 2007, British dirt jumper Stephen Murray crashed while attempting a double backflip in the Dirt Finals at the Dew Action Sports Tour in Baltimore, Maryland. His foot slipped off the pedal mid rotation, flailing him through the air and straight to the dirt, in what is widely thought of as being one of the worst professional dirt jumping accidents ever.
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center later confirmed that he had almost died in the incident, needing medication to bring him back from the brink after flatlining in the ambulance. He had crushed the C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck, severely damaging his spinal cord, and was paralyzed from the neck down.
Originally from Newcastle, Stephen had moved to the USA with the dream of competing with the best athletes in his sport, and he soon won gold in Dirt at both the X Games and the Gravity Games. Known for attempting some of the biggest and riskiest tricks ever seen on a dirt jump, he landed the first ever double backflip in competition and progressed with 360 backflips and turndown backflips.
Now based in Riverside, California, Stephen has recently regained limited movements in his arms, toes and hands. He is the inspiration for the Stay Strong brand, a message that began on a T-shirt worn by his fellow riders to show support and solidarity, but which now sponsors BMX race and freestyle teams, and the Bangers and Mash BMX dirt jam, held at Stephen’s home.