Kevin Pearce, one of USA's strongest Olympic hopefuls for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Halfpipe team, was seriously injured this morning while practicing in Park City, Utah. Pearce, 22, is listed in critical condition at the University of Utah Hospital.
According to witnesses, he hit his head on the lip of the pipe while attempting a double-cork, a highly progressive double flip and spin move that is set to get a lot attention in the upcoming Vancouver Olympics. Those following the selection process for the highly-touted U.S. Halfpipe Team consider the move a "must have" in each rider's repertoire, especially since the field is so competitive this year.
U.S. Snowboard Team coach Mike Jankowski was with Kevin at the time of the accident. John Branch of the The New York Times quoted Jankowski on the incident. "He did it a little too hard...and over-rotated on his second flip."
Pearce was knocked unconscious immediately and flown by helicopter to the University of Utah Hospital in nearby Salt Lake City. The U.S. Snowboard team trainer and medical director have stayed by Pearce's side
The Times also reports that Pearce went into surgery at the University of Utah hospital this evening to relieve fluid buildup in his brain. He remains unconscious but doctors are looking to lessen his sedation and that he will regain consciousness after surgery.
What's also worth noting is this is Pearce's second head injury in the past month. During the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Copper Mountain (an Olympic Halfpipe Qualifying event) in early December he suffered a mild concussion during a qualification run. He placed a disappointing 18th place after being forced to stop early. Since then he has recovered enough to begin training again in hopes of making the elite U.S. Snowboard Men's Halfpipe team, which is expected to dominate in February. Pearce was one of the favorites to qualify for the team.
Pearce's friends, fans and teammates are already expressing their love and support all over social networking sites. Stay tuned for more.
Photo by Nate Abbott
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george foreman says:
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