February 16, 2010
Snowboarder Kevin Pearce sustained a massive head injury while training Dec. 31 in Park City, Utah. While working on the double cork, Pearce slammed face-first into an icy 22-foot wall of a halfpipe. Pearce was admitted to a Salt Lake City hospital in critical condition and had surgery. He stayed there until this month, when he was transferred to a Colorado facility that specializes in rehabilitating brain and spinal cord injuries.
Monday night, "NBC Nightly News" spoke with Pearce's family for the first time since his injury. Though his family is encouraged, doctor's reports reveal that Pearce has suffered memory loss and impaired vision, and he will have to learn how to walk again. Here's Kevin Tibbles' report.
Though previous reports have said that the 22-year-old Vermont native "is able to walk and do many daily activities with some assistance," this latest story isn't so reassuring. And while it's good to see that Pearce's parents and siblings are confident that Kevin is making progress, it seems that there are still significant improvements to be made.
Pearce's injury is generally considered a fluke, but some think that the sport may be evolving more quickly than its athletes are. With bigger halfpipes and innovators like Shaun White, the pressure to do the best tricks can lead to attempts by those who should not be considering them.
Nonetheless, boarders want the bigger halfpipes, and they want to do bigger tricks. According to Tom Hutchinson, Canada's head snowboarding coach, "it's up to the coach that has to be a little smart sometimes to realize that there's times to do it and times not to." Someone has to say stop, but when they're on the course, who really has control?