Dave Mirra was an icon, superhero, father, husband, and friend to all. Mirra broke onto the BMX scene in 1987 as part of the Haro Bikes BMX team at the tender age of 13, and he turned pro in 1992, and the BMX world would never be the same.
From 1995 to 2009, Mirra medaled at every X Games except 2006. He won a total of 24 medals at the ESPN extreme sports event including 14 gold medals, according to Sports Illustrated. He was proficient at riding flat land, dirt, or park. It was unheard of for a rider to excel like he did in so many BMX disciplines.
Mirra had a legendary impact on action sports and helped make the X Games a success, along with other athletes like Tony Hawk, Mat Hoffman, Bob Burnquist, Chad Kagy, and others. In 2005, he was awarded the Best Male Action Sports Athlete at the ESPY’s. In 2000, Mirra landed the first double backflip in park competition.
He retired from BMX competition in 2011, but he was not done yet. Three years prior to retiring from BMX, Mirra began rally car racing and was a member of Subaru Rally Team USA. He also competed in his first triathlon in 2013. Outside of the sports world, Mirra hosted the Real World/Road Rules Challenge on MTV for two seasons.
However, it was never easy for the BMX icon. In 1993, a drunk driver almost ended Mirra’s career before it really took off. He was walking in Syracuse, New York, and the accident fractured his skull and caused a blood clot in his brain. However, he recovered, as he did from many other injuries. He lacerated his liver and in 2006 during X Games practice when he fell about 16 feet onto his head. Head trauma is something that many action sports athletes deal with, and it can be a major issue.
According to ESPN, legendary ramp builder Nate Wessel estimates that he had suffered around 40 concussions, and can only image that Dave Mirra had also suffered injuries to his head. The drunk driving accident, the 16 foot fall onto his head, and the possibility that Mirra suffer from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopath (CTE) has been raised today. NFL icons Junior Seau and Dave Duerson suffered from CTE and ended their lives with very public suicides.
On February 4, 2016, police in Greenville, North Carolina found Dave Mirra dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. It is difficult for many to understand why Mirra took his own life, but talks have been flooding the BMX and action sports community about CTE and depression. While his death is tragic and too soon, if it can bring awareness to CTE or other issues that can come from action sports, and help save someone else, his legacy will go on.
Dave Mirra was 41 and is survived by his wife Lauren, and two daughters, Madison and Mackenzie. There has been no word at this time when a memorial service for the BMX legend will be held.
Join CDA News in sending the Mirra family heartfelt condolences on the loss of Dave. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
By Cletus Dillwood