Steve was born in Chatham, Kent, on 2nd June 1981. Sport was integral to his life from an early age. Raised in a family that supported Crystal Palace Football Club, he remembers being taken to watch the team play. "At the time, Iain Dowie was playing for Crystal Palace and was a real role model, but as a small boy I found it amazing that there were thousands of people cheering for a player and chanting his name. It certainly made me feel that I wanted that, too."
Steve attended Borden Grammar School in Sittingbourne, Kent. Sport was the focus of his enthusiasm and he demonstrated broad ability, representing the school in football, cricket and cross-country.
Alongside his sport, Steve's greatest pleasure was in exploring the countryside around his home. His interest was so great that he longed to become a wildlife presenter. "If I wasn’t playing football with my mates I was catching tadpoles and slowworms, and I loved programmes like The Really Wild Show and everything with David Attenborough. So that’s what I wanted to be. But the careers master just told me I wouldn’t be able to do that and to forget it."
Injury & Recovery
Steve was 23 years old when he experienced the accident that changed, completely and irrevocably, the course of his life. It was 2005 and he was working in Europe as an area manager for a holiday company. He recounts: "I tripped and fell from a first-floor balcony. I was looking up when I landed, so when my body stopped my head went back over my shoulders, like a severe whiplash. It snapped my neck, dislocating the C7 [one of the cervical vertebrae, below the skull] and trapping my spinal cord."
Steve was taken to hospital for emergency surgery to stabilise his neck. "The only parts of my body that I could move were my shoulders, my neck and my elbows." Three weeks later Brown was flown to England in order to begin his rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
Very soon after arriving at Stoke Mandeville, Steve was taken to watch wheelchair rugby. That moment was one that he would come to think of as transitional. “There were people trying to knock each other out of their wheelchairs, shouting, swearing and arguing. There was a canyon between where I was mentally and physically and where they were. A lot of them had similar injuries to me, some had worse, and I thought: 'If they can be that confident, why can’t I?’ It was a turning point.”
Steve left hospital in October 2005. In that same month he took part in his first wheelchair rugby training session, with London Wheelchair Rugby Club at the Aspire National Training Centre.
Steve's potential in the sport was quickly noted by the head coach of the Great Britain squad. In 2006 he was awarded a place in that squad and in 2007 he was part of the team that won gold in the IWRF European Championships. Despite such precocious progress, he narrowly missed selection for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games - but was honoured to lead the Olympic and Paralympic Parade of the Heroes through London on the team’s return.
Omission from the squad for Beijing only maximised Steve's determination to play at Great Britain's home Paralympics in 2012. He regained his place and, despite breaking his sternum while playing in Germany in 2010, was awarded the captaincy in 2011. At the London 2012 Paralympics, Steve led his team to a 5th-place finish. He has since commented that “Being captain at your home Games is the biggest thing that you could do. I was incredibly proud.”
Although Steve retired from international sport after the London 2012 Games, he remains heavily involved as a player and Director of Wheelchair Rugby for Canterbury Hellfire Wheelchair Rugby Club. He is one of the most recognised faces in the sport, having featured in multiple national newspapers and television broadcasts including Channel 4’s Inside Incredible Athletes.
Since 2012, Steve has become increasingly present on television, for a variety of channels and in a variety of roles. In his earliest work he drew on his great passion for, and experience in, sport. He was a roving reporter on Sky Sports' Game Changers, a pundit for ITV at the BT World Wheelchair Rugby Challenge, a member of the BBC team at the Invictus Games (2014, 2016 & 2017) and a member of the Channel 4 team at the Paralympic Games (2016).
More recently, Steve has diversified and begun to demonstrate his range as a presenter, with appearances on the BBC's Springwatch, The One Show and BBC Breakfast. In April 2017 he became the latest member of the BBC's Countryfile team. This was the realisation of his long-held ambition and a refutation of the careers adviser who told him that he would never be a wildlife presenter. He remarked that “it is worth every flat tyre, every muddy set of hands, every wet lap… I want to be judged on my performance. I’m hoping people will see it’s about ability, not disability.”
In March 2018, Steve was proud and delighted to attend the Royal Television Society West of England Awards and receive the award for New On Screen Talent in recognition of his work on Countryfile.