Fuel TV's First Hand show is usually pretty well done. The Ruben Alcantara episode from a couple years ago, for example, was a classic. The most recent First Hand, however, features Stephen Murray and tells the tale, first hand, as it is, from Stephen about his horrific crash that left him paralyzed from the neck down and his journey through life in the time since. It's heartbreaking to hear his tale but so very inspirational at the same time.
The above photo is of my friend Brian Miller. He had a freak crash at our local track in 1982 and has been paralyzed ever since. When it's a friend and in this case, team mate as he rode for my Dad's bike shop, you just don't know how to react or what to do. I remember going to see him in the hospital and feeling horrified and scared for him. He had a big smile on his face and talked to us like everything was going to be fine. Brian is still a friend and we stay in touch . He grew up and still lives very near where I do now and I even helped him dial his young son's bike in a bit a couple months back. Though I've been in touch with him for several years at this point (there was a big gap, pre-internet, where I didn't have contact with him), to be honest, it took me a very long time to even mention anything about his injury. We would talk about the pre-accident days or current topics, lots of BMX talk too, but nothing ever related to him being in a wheelchair. I finally got up the nerve to ask him if he knew about Stephen Murray. He didn't but he did the research and got up to speed about Stephen, what happened to him and what has happened since. Brian was impressed by the Athlete Recovery Fund and what it is doing for injured riders like Stephen, especially getting the van for him. Brian tells brutal tales of red tape and loopholes that prevent him from getting aid for such amenities as a new vehicle. I only wish the ARF would have been around 25 years ago. I can't speak for Brian, but he seems to be doing just fine on his own.
I don't know what I'm getting at here, but what these two guys have been through and the way they've handled the circumstances is a true inspiration. I've never met Stephen, but Brian's positivity--not just about his injury, but in general, is absolute motivation to never feel self-pity or think for one second about giving up.