The BMX world mourned the death of icon Dave Mirra in 2016. ABC affiliates only report the news as new exactly three years after Mirra’s untimely demise. Mirra committed suicide on February 4, 2016.
The BMX icon shot himself in his truck after years of battling depression due to complications suffered during the course of his career. Mirra was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) due to concussions accumulated in his sport.
CTE is caused by repeated and forceful blows to the head. People who subject themselves to sports with huge concussion risks are likely to develop this condition. Common symptoms of CTE are memory loss. Confusion, depression, and sometimes aggression. Motor skills and balance also decline depending on the degree.
A history of trauma
Mirra’s brain injuries were more serious than it sounded. University of Toronto neuropathologist Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati described the BMX legend’s brain as “indistinguishable” and that it was worse than those of football and hockey players diagnosed with CTE.
“I couldn’t tell the difference. The trauma itself defines the disease, not how you got the trauma.” – Dr. Lili-Naz Hazrati
Mirra has suffered various injuries prior to making it as a BMX legend. He fractured his skull when he was 19 after being hit by a drunk driver.
He suffered another major injury after a bad landing in 2006. “I broke all the ribs on the right side and my sternum was smashed. I couldn’t breathe, so a collapsed lung crossed my mind,” Mirra said about the 2006 incident.
Mirra’s widow, Lauren Mirra opened up about her late husband’s final moments. “I started to notice changes in his mood. And then it quickly started to get worse. He wasn’t able to be present in any situation or conversation, ” Lauren said.
Oddly, there are a lot of people on social media who have no idea that the BMX icon passed away three years ago.
Mirra is a BMX legend and one of the pioneers of the X Games. He holds the record for most X Games medals with 24 as he won each year he competed from 1995 to 2009. Mirra was known primarily as a vert ramp and park rider.
He represented Haro Bikes in the mid 1990s until starting his own bike company. He was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame on June 11, 2016.
The BMX icon also competed as a rallycross driver for several years as part of the USA Subaru Rally Team, which won the 2014 Race Across America four-person male (under 50) category.
Mirra also competed in boxing as an amateur.
Outside the arena, Mirra kept a humble character and became approachable to those who wanted to follow in his footsteps. His contributions in the world of BMX are unparalleled as he helped grow its audience base.
He also inspired riders worldwide to get on their bikes and ride. It was not his intention to be a role model but his accomplishments spoke a lot. Mirra’s hometown of Greenville, North Carolina is home to more than 20 professional BMX riders who wish to be like him someday. Mayor Allen Thomas was one of those who mourned the death of Mirra.
“He called Greenville, North Carolina home and was as humble a guy talking with kids on a street corner about bikes as he was in his element on the world stage. ” – Allen Thomas
Family and friends of Mirra are encouraging depressed individuals who are struggling with suicidal thoughts to seek help through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK.