In June of 2007, former X Games BMX Dirt gold medalist Stephen Murray suffered a career-ending injury at the 2007 Dew Tour in Baltimore, Md., while attempting a double backflip, the trick that won him X Games Gold in 2001. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned on that fateful day in Baltimore. Murray landed on his head and crushed his C3, C4 and C5 vertebrae in his neck. As a result, Murray was paralyzed below the shoulders.
"The freak accident, I landed on my neck, actually flatlined three times. I went down, and I just died on the dirt," said Murray regarding the episode.
"My life's a little bit different now," he continued. On top of mounting medical bills and concerns with Murray's health insurance (many of his long-term care needs would not be covered by his insurance), Murray lost his personal freedom.
"I need the help of friends and family, someone has to be my left hand and right hand now," said Murray.
Fortunately, Murray was recently introduced to a new technology that has allowed him to regain personal freedom -- the Tobii PCEye.
Developed by Tobii Assistive Technology Inc., the Tobii PCEye uses eye movement to navigate, select and scroll through desktop applications, the Web and other common computer functions. With the eye-tracking and eye-control capabilities of his PCEye, Murray is able to send emails to family and friends, make phone calls, chat on Skype, review personal bank accounts, log in to Facebook, communicate with his business partner on the Stay Strong brand, and browse the Internet to keep up on current happenings in BMX.
"Using the Tobii PCEye gives me back some independence and privacy in my life. I had come to the point that I thought I would never be able to accomplish the things I can now do with Tobii's technology," said Murray. "It makes me excited to wake up each day and gives me new goals to work toward. The positive effects this has had on me psychologically are far better than anything that had ever been offered to me in the past."
On Wednesday, Tobii announced a partnership with Murray to promote the life-changing benefits of their eye-tracking technology for those with spinal cord impairments and further highlight the medical needs of professional athletes suffering from performance injuries.
"I can't tell you how much joy, laughter and independence this technology has given me," says Murray.
Murray will be on site at X Games Los Angeles to meet fans and promote his apparel line, Stay Strong.