In October of 2008, Fit Bike Co. pro and six-time X Games BMX Dirt competitor Mike Aitken crashed on a can-can tiregrab 360 while filming at trails in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He was not wearing a helmet, and lost consciousness immediately after hitting his head.
Aitken spent three weeks in a coma, with a bruise the size of a thumbprint on the left frontal lobe of his brain, which initially left him paralyzed on the right side of the body. Additional injuries included a brain stem injury, a broken jaw, eye socket and sinuses, and a collapsed lung.
Five weeks later, Mike Aitken walked out of the Salt Lake City hospital he had been airlifted to without assistance. A year later, he was back on a BMX bike and grinding handrails. In 2010, just prior to the release of "Anthem ll," Aitken spoke with ESPN.com about his lengthy recovery period and the long road back to riding.
"Being back on the bike has been hard. It's been hard to be in one place with riding, and then to go back to ground zero in what felt like a day. But I'm starting to get a handle on it. My muscle tone is about 90% back now, and muscle memory takes a long time to get back. My coordination isn't quite back yet either. But spending time back on the bike helps with it," said Aitken.
He returned with a six-minute section in last year's "Killjoy" video, which won NORA Cup Video of the Year in September of 2012. The section depicted his time in the hospital and his rehabilitation, as well as the riding he was able to accomplish after nearly losing his life to the crash in 2008. It was raw and honest and inspiring -- proof that Aitken possessed an inner-born talent and awareness for riding a BMX bike, as well as remarkable strength and vigor.
Earlier today, Aitken returned with a short promo video for his new line of signature complete bikes from Fit Bike Co., and his rate of progression continues. Back in his repertoire are the signature Mike Aitken dipped 360s, as well as clicked tables and the signature Aitken kick out. It's not just inspiring to see Mike Aitken ride a BMX bike -- it's a demonstration in the power of human will.
One that I'll never forget as long as I live.