Tue | May 26, 2020

I won't give up - Paralysed and in pain, former tae kwon do star holds on to dreams

Published:Sunday | February 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMDania Bogle
Former tae kwon do athlete Oshane Murray makes his way out of a class at the engineering building at the University of Technology. Murray recently returned to his studies at UTech after a severe spinal injury in 2013.
Oshane Murray in a engineering class at the University of Technology.
Oshane Murraywheels his way through the halls of the engineering building at the University of Technology.

There's a lot that's been said about the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, and Oshane Murray is living proof of what a person can overcome when the mind kicks into gear.

The 23-year-old was on a clear path to achievement as a former Calabar High School student, attending the University of Technology (UTech) pursuing a degree in electrical engineering and representing Jamaica at international and local events in tae kwon do.

His life changed on January 30, 2013, when, during a cheerleading routine at UTech, he slipped and fell.

"It's when I was trying to get up I realised that I couldn't. I didn't feel a thing. I was very calm and laughing. When I was trying to move, I couldn't, and everyone was saying 'Oshane, Oshane, get up now nuh' and I said 'I can't move' and they were like, 'Oshane stop joking around'. Then the girls started screaming and there was chaos," he recalled of that day.




He was taken to the hospital, where he learned he had a broken vertebrae in his spine.

"The doctors were saying I should be dead based on the X-Ray ;that it's a miracle I'm a alive and conscious," he told The Gleaner.

After almost a year in hospital, Murray was released. He got an infection a few days before his release, but was deemed well enough to go home just before Christmas 2013.

"When I first came home, it was problematic because nobody really knew how to react or how to address me being in this situation. Even though they were trying their best, sometimes them just trying just makes it worse," Murray said.

It was during this period Murray, who turns 24 in May, learned who his real friends were. They turned out to be his teammates, his classmates and some family members.

He returned to classes at UTech in September 2015 through the assistance of his coach Jason McKay, who provided him with a driver as well as an assistant, who writes his notes during classes.

Exams have proven a little challenging, but he is coping.

"I do exams in a room by myself. I draw and I talk, but that's a next headache in itself. Especially when I have to draw, it's hard to describe how to draw stuff, especially when you're doing a lot of calculation courses. Sometimes in the middle of the exams, I get dizzy spells (too)."

The thing he said he misses most is the fact that he can no longer train as a martial artist. However, he has found a way to contribute and has returned to training, even if in a different capacity.

"I just want to finish what I started ... My goal is that I just want to be independent. I don't know how long it will take, but I will.

"I don't know what's pushing me but I just don't want to give up. I don't know what's going to happen and that fear of not knowing is what's pushing me forward," he said.