Former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce snowboarded for the first time in two years last week after suffering a devastating brain injury that left many wondering if he would ever live a normal life.
Pearce was a favorite to win a medal at the Vancouver Games when he had his accident in December 2009. While training on the half-pipe, something went wrong, and Pearce’s head slammed onto the lip of the half-pipe. He says he remembers nothing of that night.
The injury left Pearce in the hospital for weeks with memory loss, blurred vision and problems with balance and speech.
Pearce’s snowboarding career was over. Instead of training for the Olympics, Pearce had to train just to live a normal life. He trained tirelessly in rehab, eventually regaining his speech and vision, and attempting to regain his balance enough where he could ride a snowboard.
“There are bigger things in life than snowboarding,” Pearce said. “It was my whole life for the last 10 years, and my life got flipped upside down 100%. So it’s different now in every single way. What’s so cool, though, is that I’ve been able to deal with it.”
Pearce demonstrates that while recovering from a traumatic brain injury can be tough, for some it can be done.
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