NBC showed a moving tribute to snowboarder Kevin Pearce yesterday night, with news anchor Tom Brokaw interviewing the Pearce family. Pearce was considered one of the best snowboarders bound for the Winter Olympics, and the only one who may have beaten Shaun White for the gold medal.
Five months ago, Pearce was interviewed as being excited to represent Team USA at the Olympics. By December 31, 2009, while practicing one of the new snowboarding tricks, Pearce’s head struck the lip of the halfpipe upon landing. If not for the helmut he was wearing, Pearce may have died on impact. He sustained a severe traumatic brain injury and remained unconscious and in critical condition for six days while his parents and his 3 older brothers gathered, humbled by the experience, in support.
What’s special about Pearce is the endless amount of “kindness and patience” he has for David, the third Pearce brother who has Down syndrome. Shown teaching David how to skateboard, Pearce is described by another brother as having a reservoir of “determination, good will” and being “best natured.” The bond between Kevin and David is undeniable; David wishing his brother good luck and telling all the doctors to take good care of him.
Even though Peace has now regained full consciousness, his speech, vision, and physical coordination are affected and full recovery will take some time, making his future in snowboarding uncertain. Still, the return of his infectious smile gives hope to his family and to the fans who have rallied to encourage him on a Facebook page created by his parents. Here’s to Kevin Pearce for Winter Olympics 2014.
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