Darren was prequalified for the 1998 X Games. Unfortunately he badly ruptured the bottom disk in his back at L5/S1.

Disk injuries are usually measured in millimeters, but Darren had a full centimeter pushing into his spinal nerves.

Although he couldn't tolerate sitting or standing for more than a few minutes, he felt fine while on the luge and he was able to steer and brake with full efficiency. Darren decided to compete and refused pain medication other than aspirin. He planned to run a tactical race and hoped to get lucky, as pushing at the start was very difficult and he could not afford to crash.

After the X Games a neurosurgeon told Darren he was surprised he was walking and still had bladder control.

Chiropractor Paul Stately made a special visit to the pits to give Darren a hand during the competition.

All the riders were really supportive and carried Darren's equipment, saved a special seat in the transport truck and let him lay on the equipment tables in the pits.

During practice, competitior Ron Hanstein was following Darren down when Darren made a surprise braking move. Rather than take the chance of hitting and injuring Darren further, Ron purposely crashed into the hay to avoid him.

The general public has no idea of how well the luge racers look out for one another behind the scenes.

The top of the hill was hot and the riders baked sometimes as production delays or false starts held them on the start line.

During a production hold while sitting on the start line Darren looked for some instant shade. One of the course workers supplied him with this box. Another rider drew the smile to match and "Box Head" was born!

ESPN cameras captured it and this is a shot of over the Jumbotron. Darren's fiance Arlene liked "Box Head" so much she took a photo and they sent it out as a Christmas card that year.

Although he didn't win any medals at the '98 X Games, ESPN wrote an article about him.

Darren was glad just to be able to participate.

When his competitiors extended their sympathathy over his injured back, Darren replied "I could be home in pain, feeling sorry for myself, or here in pain, having a great time riding with you guys in the X Games."