Tobii Assistive Technology Inc., global leader in eye-tracking-enabled augmented communication and assistive technology devices, today announced its partnership with world-class BMX rider Stephen Murray and the Athlete Recovery Fund (ARF) to promote the life-changing benefits of eye-tracking technology for those with spinal cord impairments and further highlight the medical needs of professional athletes suffering from performance injuries. Murray will be on-site at the Summer X Games Los Angeles, June 28-July 2, to meet with fans and promote his Stay Strong apparel line supporting those with disabilities.
“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.”
Murray, a multi-gold medalist and professional BMX rider, was critically injured while performing at a competition in 2007. The crash resulted in multiple fractured vertebrae and damage to his spinal cord, leaving him quadriplegic. Despite holding insurance that covered a significant portion of his immediate emergency care, Murray and his family realized that much of his long-term care needs would not be covered by his insurance. Many action sports athletes are unable to afford this long-term coverage due to the low income levels of the majority of action sports professionals.
This hurdle served as the catalyst for forming the Athlete Recovery Fund, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that assists athletes in BMX, skate and freestyle motocross (FMX) after a severe injury to provide charitable medical and education resources to aid in recovery and rehabilitation. The Athlete Recovery Fund is Stephen Murray’s legacy because of what was learned by friend Aaron Cooke, ARF executive director, while fundraising for Stephen.
“The ARF has made significant strides in assisting action sports athletes in their rehabilitation needs and continues to grow with support from numerous organizations, such as Tobii,” said Cooke. “It is our goal to continue championing these athletes as we push for more comprehensive insurance policies that will address their long-term care.”
Murray furthers his outreach to those with spinal cord and other debilitating injuries with the Stay Strong apparel line, focusing on maintaining a positive outlook despite the challenges associated with rehabilitation and traumatic injuries. Murray hopes to build a support community around Stay Strong that will allow others to communicate, motivate and encourage one another during their rehab efforts.
Utilizing the most advanced eye-tracking technology in the world, the Tobii PCEye allows for greater independence through the use of eye movement to navigate, select and scroll through desktop applications, the Web and other common computer functions. With the robust 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.
About Athlete Recovery Fund
Mission Statement – To provide professional athletes in BMX, FMX and skateboarding with financial support after a severe injury and to grant funds for rehabilitation, equipment, long-term disability and educational scholarships.