Snowboard Champ Returns to Slopes After Brain Injury

Kevin Pearce to ride with friends for first time in 2 years
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 9, 2011 9:00 AM CST
Pearce competes in 2009.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott, File)
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(Newser) – After hitting his head during halfpipe training two years ago, Kevin Pearce lost his shot at snowboarding superstardom: The accident left him in a coma with a traumatic brain injury, one that blurred his vision, shook his balance, and altered his memory. But even if his glory days are over, he's not quitting the slopes, the New York Times reports. On Tuesday he'll ride for the first time since the accident, gathering friends and supporters for his return to snowboarding in Breckenridge, Colo.

But don't expect big air or big tricks. "Putting myself in a place where I can get hit in the head is so not worth it now,” he tells the Times. “After going through this, just jumping on a snowboard and cruising around is enough for me." He continues to fight memory problems, but he believes muscle memory will suffice for the ride. "I think it’s like riding a bike," he notes. He nearly sped down a small hill weeks ago, but decided he'd rather hold off and ride with his loyal supporters—who have trumpeted the slogan "I Ride for Kevin"—by his side.

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