Derrell’s Story

My world changed on July 24, 1983, when I was injured while racing motocross. I crushed the T-12 vertebrae in my back, which injured my spinal cord and caused paralysis from the waist down.

Being 19 years old at the time and indestructible, not walking again and not riding a motorcycle again was not an option. Well, yes, it was the option and the reality. My injury was complete, and I would not walk again.

Coming to terms with not walking again was extremely difficult as I felt like I had died and was starting my life over. I had no idea what my future held. Accepting that I would never ride a motorcycle again was just as difficult because I lived and breathed motorcycles.


I rode a motorcycle to school every day during the week and raced on the weekends. Everything I thought I knew about me no longer seemed true, and I felt like I was being reborn. In a sense, I was being reborn because I had to accept those things I couldn’t change and identify the things I could. This was literally my make or break time.

People, in general, will try to define you based on your outward appearance. Being disabled, certain assumptions are made about what you can and can’t do. You have to decide, the earlier, the better. People’s perceptions are not always reality, and they don’t have to be.


People want recovery from injury to be about regaining everything you lost when in reality, that is not always possible. Recovery is about identifying what abilities you have remaining and utilizing those abilities to live life to the fullest. One of my desires that never left my thoughts was to be back on a motorcycle.

It took 26 years for all the pieces to fall into place, and in 2009, I purchased a Harley Davidson Electra Glide. I brought the motorcycle to Ronnie Walker with Texas Trikes, and we worked together to build a trike I could ride. I truly appreciate Ronnie’s willingness and dedication in making this trike work for me. I love pulling up on the trike, unloading the wheelchair, and watching people stare.

One of my goals in life

Is not only to break the stereotypes people have about the disabled but knock it out of the ballpark. I encourage you to find your passion and do the same. I have my freedom back, and I live my life with no regrets, so get out there and ride.