It’s been almost two years since pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury while training for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Overcoming long odds, Pearce returned to the sport he loved on Tuesday, taking a few runs at Breckenridge Resort in Colorado, which is hosting the Nike Open Winter Dew Tour this weekend.
“Today was a perfect day for me,” said Pearce. “”I’m so grateful to my family, friends, sponsors and the riders who were with me today. Their positive energy has made it possible for me to get back to what I love to do!”
Pearce’s journey to recovery has been slow, requiring he re-learn to eat, walk, talk, balance and see. Eye surgery to correct stubborn vision and balance issues finally allowed doctors to greenlight his return last month.
On December 31, 2009, while attempting a double cork 1260, Pearce slammed face first into the icy lip of the halfpipe at Park City, instantly knocking him unconscious. For two months thereafter the snowboarding star lay in a coma as tens of thousands of fans supported him via the “Well Wishes to our Frend Kevin Pearce” fan page.
A viral sticker campaign by sponsor Burton dubbed “I Ride 4 Kevin” has since canvassed the top sheets of snowboards across the country. As of Tuesday the campaign changed to “Ride with Kevin.”
“It’s crazy to have that (support). I think that’s what’s got me to this point and what’s kept me working so hard and continue to keep me on this path.” Pearce said.
Pearce will be an official commentator on NBC’s live TV broadcast of the Nike Open Winter Dew Tour Snowboard Superpipe Finals this Saturday from 2:30 – 4pm MST.
– James Sullivan
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