The picture above is of professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce months after suffering a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), which was categorized as severe (pretty much as bad as they get) while training at Park City, Utah for the 2010 Olympics qualifiers. He hit his head above an eye on an icy halfpipe wall and was knocked unconscious. After being airlifted to a nearby hospital he underwent emergency surgery to relieve fluid buildup in his brain and remained in critical condition until doctors decided to play him in a medically induced comma in order for the swelling to come down and prevent further brain damage. The Olympic hopeful was a favorite and was thought to be the one that could rival Shaun White on the pipe (who won Gold in the halfpipe event at said Olympics) but in one day all his hard work and childhood dreams vanished. Pearce had to re-learn how to walk again and had grueling physical therapy for months after the accident (and still does today), his balance (very important to a snowboarder) was shattered and his eye-sight was severely affected to the point that if he takes off his glasses today he sees everything double. Doctors have told him that he can never ride a halfpipe or compete in snowboarding ever again but have told him that if he really wishes to get back on a snowboard, just to get on snow (no tricks whatsoever) he may do so whenever he feels ready.
His story is one to admire, at such a young age his world was shattered. His dream used to be to win Olympic Gold for the USA, nowadays his only wish is to get back on a snowboard, back on snow really, the place he says he still feels the most comfortable in no matter how many times he’s gotten hurt by it. He says that he will be back on a snowboard because it’s his life and couldn’t imagine life without it but that he’s very thankful to be alive and that he couldn’t have done it without the help and support of his amazing family, friends, and fans all over the world.
Now Kevin hosts snowboarding events, promotes awareness for snowboarding safety (wearing a helmet saved his life), and educating others on Down Syndrome (one of his brother’s had DS).