ENGLEWOOD - After a freak accident on a half-pipe left snowboarder Kevin Pearce in a medically induced coma, he is giving back to the hospital that helped him rehab his nearly-fatal injury.
Pearce donated $10,000 to Craig Hospital to provide financial assistance to patients with traumatic brain injuries. The money will be used to provide financial assistance to brain injury patients.
"This place has done wonders for me, and it's completely changed the recovery I have had of this traumatic brain injury," Pearce said.
It is the first funds he has raised through his "Love Your Brain" awareness campaign. Pearce established the Kevin Pearce Fund to help raise money toward traumatic brain injury education and prevention. The "Love Your Brain" campaign is part of his foundation.
Pearce's snowboarding career took a turn for the worst while training for the 2009 U.S. Olympic Trials in Park City, Utah. On Dec. 31, 2009, Pearce fell while practicing a half-pipe trick and sustained a severe traumatic brain injury. Despite wearing a helmet, the horrific crash left Pearce in critical condition and a medically induced coma.
The crash and his subsequent recovery inspired the HBO documentary "The Crash Reel."
And in Dec. 2011, nearly two years after the horrific crash, Pearce got back on a snowboard for the first time in Breckenridge.
Pearce says his foundation plans on making more contributions for traumatic brain injury victims and research in the future.
"It's crazy to think that I was there and I was like these guys at one point and that I have been able to recover and heal" he said. "It's really cool to kind of see the process that [recovery] takes [and] to be able to show these guys that with hard work and the right dedication and mindset that they can heal and recover."
Pearce will also receive the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration award Friday at the annual Craig Hospital PUSH dinner that raises money to support Craig Hospital programs and research. The award recognizes those who have made a commitment to bringing awareness to traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.
Donations to the Kevin Pearce Fund can be made at www.kevinpearce.com.