Kevin Pearce

Kevin Pearce, snowboarder
Kevin Pearce, snowboarder

Crash Reel is a documentary on the tragedy that befell extreme sports golden boy Kevin Pearce.

At just 22 the snowboarder was already getting sponsorship deals from companies like Nike who came a sniffing after he beat already-legend-of-the-sport-at just 27, Shawn White.

He was due to compete against White in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics when tragedy struck and he had a massive crash as he tried to perform an aerial trick. Kevin crashed face-down on to the ground and suffered brain injuries; his pupils also popped from all the pressure in his brain, moving the position of his eyes and making concentration extremely difficult.

No one thought the kid would make it, but he miraculously survived and spent the next 2 years trying to recover fully to get back on his snowboard. But this was not to be unfortunately.

As someone who has suffered from brain injuries myself I knew the frustration he must have felt when he was told things just couldn’t go back to quite what they were. It was both compelling and heart-rending to see the great effort and belief he put in, while also seeing the strain this was having on his family.

The loved ones of the ill are often overlooked – not all hospitals require a status report on relatives and friends, not all encourage them to speak with psychologists and therapists to discuss what they’re going through and how to cope with a sick loved one.

It really is unfortunate and it’s quite surprising that so little progress has been made in this area. And yet this is one of the most important areas for a patient’s recovery. That a support system of family and friends are properly equipped with the tools and knowledge to help nurse their loved one fully back to health can’t be overstated.

In my experience there have been times when it was obvious resentment was building: you want things to be as they once where, but the effort could kill you and your loved ones seem to say, “haven’t you already put this family through enough already?”

There can be no escaping feelings of rejection, inferiority, obstinate pride, and extreme depression when a family faces such a crisis and to leave them to their own ends is a big oversight on the part of the medical professionals.

Kevin, just like me, is fortunate to have such a close family, and many times in the documentary you could see their closeness being tested. I’m happy he came out of his ordeal to discover that though the door to extreme sports may have closed other opportunities such as public speaking have presented themselves.

Kevin’s brother also suffers from Down syndrome and the family have a website where they accept donations for both impairments.

Crash reel is now available on demand for Sky customers.

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