On Saturday, July 1, 2006, at the Field of Dreams motocross track in Boswell, Pa., Darius Glover did what tens of thousands of kids do across the United States every weekend. He threw his leg over his motocross bike looking forward to a day full of racing with friends.
Tragically, a last lap crash would change the 15-year-old's life forever. The crash sent Glover over the bars to the ground, leaving him vulnerable to the bike that followed after him. The bike came down onto his back, and Glover was unable to get up. When he tried again, Glover recalls feeling, "as if someone set his back on fire."
The crash left him in the one physical state that every motocross rider fears: paralyzed. With no movement from the waist down, doctors told Glover he would never walk or ride again. He remembered the moment well, explaining the emotional exchange of words with the doctor. "I just looked at him and said 'you're wrong!'" recalls Glover.
It turns out, that doctor was definitely wrong.
Glover did ride again and now rides more than most fully-able-bodied motocross riders. He qualified for the prestigious Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals in the 250 C class in 2011 and is trying to qualify for the 450 C and College Boy divisions this year.
Sounds amazing right? But to Glover, the fact that he has a disability and still competes with the fastest amateur riders in the world isn't that big of a deal.
"People say I'm inspiring. To me, I'm just riding a dirt bike," he says.
John Anderson from Dubya Wheels has found inspiration in Glover. "From the first time we talked to Darius about using our wheels, his passion and drive was infectious," says Anderson. "He is faced with many obstacles both on and off the track, but his desire to succeed and his personality [that] allows him to connect with the fans made it easy for us to want to work with him. We have worked with some of the best riders in the world including James Stewart and Chad Reed, but we couldn't be happier to include Darius as part of the Dubya family of athletes."
Glover rides a dirt bike with a special harness fabricated to fit on his bike and keep his lower half strapped and secure with ratchet straps, while a modified seat allows mobility for his top half to attack all the jumps and obstacles that are in his way.
It's not just friends and fans who stand behind Glover and the now famous #RIDEWITHDARIUS social media cause. The 22-year-old Tallahassee, Fla., resident has a handful of amazing companies that have jumped on board to support him.
"We work with a lot of athletes, but Darius is far and away one of our favorites," says Blake Anderson from Young & Reckless clothing. "His attitude and spirit despite his circumstances continues to amaze us, and we're grateful to play a small part in his rise to the top."
Qualifying for the 2011 Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross Championship as a paraplegic and having the sponsors most kids dream of would be enough for most riders. But Glover is thinking bigger, and says his next goal is to be the first paralyzed athlete to win an Amateur National Motocross Championship.
Glover is still waiting to see if he will get his ticket punched to the 2013 Loretta Lynn Amateur Motocross Championship from July 29 - Aug. 3, in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. Whether Glover qualifies for or wins a national championship is irrelevant. His positive attitude, while defying the odds, on the way to becoming a motocross icon is more impressive than any motocross title.