Firm-Wide blog

Snowboarder’s Inspiring Brain Injury Documentary Comes to Colorado

By Burg Simpson
May 1, 2015
2 min read

When Kevin Pierce wiped out shredding a Park City half-pipe five years ago, he was at the top of his game as a professional snowboarder. The New Hampshire native had won multiple medals in the X-Games, in addition to being crowned the TTR World Champion. All of that changed when Pearce suffered a devastating traumatic brain injury as he trained to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In the blink of an eye

The accident that resulted in Pearce’s serious traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurred when the then 23-year-old rider attempted a maneuver called a “cab double cork,” which involves flipping twice while riding backwards. Pearce landed on his head on one of the half-pipe’s transitions, and eventually ended up in Denver’s Craig Hospital, a world-renowned rehabilitation center that specializes in severe TBIs.

In this accident, Pearce’s head took the brunt of the crash, resulting in a six-day coma. Once Pearce was revived from this state, he suffered memory loss, vision impairment, and sudden mood swings. All of these symptoms are fairly typical for victims of this type of accident, and their effects can, unfortunately, be long-lasting.

Film raises awareness about brain injuries

Pearce’s recovery has been slow and steady and is documented in a film that recently enjoyed a special screening in Colorado, just in time for Burton’s U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships. The movie, entitled “The Crash Reel,” follows Pearce before and after his accident and has been described as a glimpse at “one eye-popping sport, snowboarding; and one explosive issue, Traumatic Brain Injury.” Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker, the film both entertains and raises awareness about the effects of TBIs on victims and their families.

Pearce, like many other TBI sufferers, has been left without the ability to continue pursuing his livelihood in the same manner. Indeed, Pearce has heeded doctors warnings that even a minor blow to the brain at this point could prove deadly. Taking his life’s new direction in stride, Pearce has embraced the practice of yoga and is working hard each day to fight off the despair and hopelessness with which too many TBI victims struggle in the wake of their injuries.

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