Brain injuries can occur for a number of reasons. Maybe an individual was a victim in a traumatic car accident. Perhaps, they were knocked from their motorcycle and fell on their head. For Kevin Pearce, his brain injury occurred while attempting an extremely difficult snowboarding trick during the ramp-up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
The Boston Globe recently published a story on Pearce documenting his recovery process and future plans to move back to the San Diego area. Pearce, like many brain injury patients, maintains a rigorous physical therapy schedule, yet knows that he will probably never regain full control of his body. Pearce's process of adjusting to his "new normal" highlights the emotional and physical obstacles which brain injury patients must overcome on their road to recovery.
After his accident, Pearce's severe brain injury kept him in critical condition for an entire month before he was able to be transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation center. Pearce's parents describe the trauma of seeing their son connected to a tangle of tubes and machines and wondering if he would wake up from his coma a completely different person.
Fortunately, Pearce's injury did not affect the portion of his brain which controls his personality, as occasionally occurs with brain injury victims. However, the accident did leave him with vision problems in his right eye, memory issues, slow thought processing, and general weakness on the left side of his body.
In order to regain his strength and independence, the former professional snowboarder completes daily routines which combine Pilates, balance board work, vision exercises, and other rehabilitation work. For three months after the accident, Pearce did eight hours of rehab per day.
The Boston Globe's article emphasizes the unlimited support and assistance provided by Pearce's loving family. The Pearce family acknowledged that they are lucky to have the time and money to provide their son with the quality care he needs to maximize his recovery.
However, not all brain injury victims are as financially fortunate as the Pearce family, which is why insurance liability compensation received after an accident can be so important to a patient's quality of life.
Source: Boston Globe, "An athlete's greatest challenge." Shira Springer, 1 March 2011.