In April 2007 I fell off a roof in college, broke my back, and was paralyzed. I was twenty-one. I then had to adapt to life in a wheelchair over a long rehab process to find my “new normal” and regain the independence I'd lost after my accident.
Despite this accident, I remained the same competitive athlete I was when I played football and baseball at the collegiate level. Only now this passion involved handcycling and other adaptive sports, like monoskiing. I have since raced in over fifty different events as a handcyclist and have helped raise more than $50,000 for The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and their spinal cord injury research program as a Team Reeve athlete. I even posed next to Superman’s son, Matthew Reeve, for a Vineyard Vines spread in their 2011 Summer catalog.
Today, I am an 11-time marathoner with Top 5 finishes in New York and Boston, as well as seven appearances in the Marine Corps Marathon. I was also featured on NBC after completing two Tough Mudder competitions in 2012 and 2013 with the help of teammates and an off-road handcycle.
During much of this journey, academics have played a significant role in my life alongside athletics. In 2008, after finishing rehab and earning my independence, I received my B.A. in History from Randolph-Macon College in 2008 with a double minor in Classical Studies and Art History. Then, after joining the Marines was no longer possible, I entered grad school and earned my Master of Arts degree in American Military History from George Mason University in 2012.
Originally from Northern Virginia, I now reside in Denver, Colorado, with my wife Casey (a physical therapist) and our German Shepherd, Gunner, where I've started my motivational speaking business, Michael Murphy Speaks, while skiing and working towards my above-stated ultimate goal: to make the US Adaptive Alpine Ski Team…and then the Paralympics.