Even though Shaun White is the talk of the sport of snowboarding, especially given his recent second gold medal win in the sport, there has been a friendly rivalry between White and fellow American snowboarder Kevin Pearce for the the last few years now. It makes you wonder if the outcome of the snowboarding competition would have been different if it hadn’t been for the accident during Pearce’s training run just six weeks before the Olympics that not only took him out of the competition but almost took his life as well.
During tonight’s Olympic coverage on NBC Tom Brokaw reported the story of Kevin Pearce’s talent in snowboarding, his tragic accident and inspiring recovery. Brokaw and fellow reporter Kevin Tibbles spoke to Pearce’s parents and two brothers, (the third of which has Down-Syndrome. ) Pearce’s parents say that their son David has taught them to have the patience that in necessary in order to cope with Kevin’s injury and recovery.
Kevin was injured while executing a trick called the double-cork, which he had previously completed successfully on multiple occassions…though perhaps not to the same caliber as Shaun White…Pearce hit his head on the rim of the half-pipe upon landing and doctors said that if it weren’t for his helmet, he would not have survived.
Kevin Pearce was diagnosed with Tramatic Brain Injury (TBI) and his physical, psychological and emotional recovery will be long and difficult. Pearce’s speech and motor functions were profoundly affected by his injury and although it was reported tonight that Kevin will be able to walk unassisted again by the end of the week, it is not known whether Kevin Pearce will make a return to competitive snowboarding.
This story affected me profoundly because a member of my own family was diagnosed with (TBI) so I know how difficult the recovery process and the aftermath can be not only for the patient but for their family as well.
Kevin Pearce’s family should be commended for the dignity and grace with which they are handling this traumatic situation. Kevin Pearce may not have competed in The Olympics, but he survived and that makes him a champion.