Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Day 261: The Crash Reel: The Ride of a Lifetime

Do you remember what happened four years ago? Do you remember hearing that a snowboarder from Vermont had suffered a horrific halfpipe crash in Park City, Utah and was fighting for his life? Do you remember that this snowboarder was destined for greatness—less than two months away from the Winter Olympics in Vancouver where he promised to be the biggest competition for Shaun White.

Four years ago Kevin Pearce's life changed forever. In the specially built halfpipe in Park City, Pearce missed the landing on a trick and landed on his head. His friends watched as he was carted away on a stretcher and to the hospital where it was determined that the 22-year-old had suffered a traumatic brain injury. The Olympics forgotten—Kevin's family and friends watched as he fought for his life.

Now as the the Winter Olympics in Sochi approach, Kevin has dramatically switched focus. No longer is he the reckless trickster in the halfpipe. He still snowboards casually but has to be ultra careful since just one fall, one tiny bump to his head, could be serious. Kevin now spends his days with his outreach campaign called Love Your Brain. With this campaign, he aims to educate the public about traumatic brain injuries and those who are living with one.

While the campaign is still in its early stages, the goal is to inspire and educate about the human brain. Traumatic brain injuries have been in the forefront a lot lately due to the recent findings with NFL players who have suffered multiple concussions over their careers. And in general, TBIs have been on the rise with the advancements in equipment allowing athletes to do everything faster and bigger and harder.

This past Friday, The Crash Reel, a powerful documentary chronicling Kevin's accident and life before and after the incident, made its official theatrical release. The footage follows Pearce's life using more than 200 different sources to weave a tremendously personal story. It documents his struggles with his injury and learning to live with it. This film looks amazing and heart wrenching and inspiring. I can't wait to see it. There's even some Oscar buzz surrounding it.

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