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Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Stephen Murray regains movement of arms

By Brian Tunney
XGames.com

X Games BMX Dirt gold medalist Stephen Murray, who suffered a career-ending injury that left him paralyzed below the shoulders in 2007, released a video this week that shows him moving both of his arms. The development comes almost six years to the day since Murray was injured at the Baltimore Dew Tour stop on June 22, 2007.

The video, shot recently at Murray's home, depicts Murray with both arms raised overhead. Murray is able to lift his right arm and place it down in front of him, while controlling extension and contraction of the left arm, along with pronation and supination of the left wrist.

Murray, who won X Games gold in 2001, was injured while attempting a double backflip during BMX dirt qualifiers at the Dew Tour. He did not complete the rotation and crushed his C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck when he landed. In a 2011 interview with ESPN.com, Murray said he flatlined on the way to the hospital in Baltimore but was revived.

Murray remained on a ventilator for five months following the accident, and he was eventually transferred to a hospital in Denver that specialized in spinal cord rehabilitation. Close to a year later, Murray, a resident of the United Kingdom, returned to his adopted hometown of Riverside, Calif., and began to adjust to life as a quadriplegic.

"My life's a little bit different now," Murray told ESPN.com in 2011. On top of mounting medical bills and concerns with Murray's health insurance (according to him, many of his long-term care needs would not be covered by his insurance), Murray says he lost his personal freedom.

But he continued rehabilitation, and over the past several years, he was able to regain some movement in his hand and foot. "I can move my hand slightly. If I concentrate sometimes, I have small movement and control in my foot. You have to have the perseverance and tenacity to want to break out of the situation," Murray said in 2011. "My mind tells me to get better, dodge bullets, move mountains and that's what I'm gonna do."

Murray could not be reached for comment this week.

Alongside Murray's physical progress, he continues to give back to the BMX community through his clothing brand, Stay Strong, which sponsors both BMX race and freestyle teams, and more recently, the Bangers and Mash BMX dirt jam, held at his home in Riverside. Last month's Bangers and Mash Jam attracted an international array of dirt riders and raised funds to help pay for Murray's continued rehabilitation.