Snowboarder Kevin Pearce Makes A Doc After His Traumatic Brain Injury [INTERVIEW]

Photo: (Kevin Moran)

Photo: (Kevin Moran)

Grab a tissue — OK, the whole box — because pro snowboarder Kevin Pearce has a new documentary out today that will make you cry a river. “The Crash Reel” follows his recovery after a traumatic brain injury, and his determination to return to snowboarding, the sport that nearly took his life.

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Photo: Kevin reflecting off the snow, in Colorado. (The Crash Reel)

As Pat Graham wrote, “Heading into the Vancouver Games, Pearce was considered the biggest threat to dethrone [Shaun] White. Then, just 49 days before the Olympics, Pearce over-rotated on his training run and crashed.” The film, directed by Academy Award-winner Lucy Walker, takes us on Kevin’s journey on the snow and off. From sport safety to learning about traumatic brain injuries, it’s an eye-opening film about the world of snowboarding. The sport is not just cool Burton jackets and Shaun White. Fitting time to release the film, too, as the controversial Sochi Winter Olympics are less than two months away.

The documentary is also paying it forward. The LOVEYOURBRAIN campaign, was born from the film and Kevin. There are 1.7 million traumatic brian injuries a year in the United States so the campaign focuses on preventing traumatic brain injuries as well as helping those who suffer from it. LOVEYOURBRAIN is running an Instagram contest where you could win all sorts of prizes like a GoPro camera. All you have to do is follow @TheCrashReel on Instagram, post a photo of yourself wearing a helmet, tag #loveyourbrain, and may be the selected winner!

We had the opportunity to talk to Kevin about the film, his inspiring Tweets and why he’s looking forward to watching Shaun White in Sochi.

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Photo: In his element. (The Crash Reel)

ACT: Your documentary “The Crash Reel” opens today, congrats! Why did you want to make this documentary?

KEVIN: I felt  I had a really important powerful story to share that a lot of the world really could relate with. I have the most amazing family and really special group of friends and it seemed perfect to share with the world.

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Photo: Kevin with his brother David. (The Crash Reel)

ACT: What do you want viewers to take away most from your journey?

KEVIN: When you get knocked down you gotta get back up. I was at the top of my sport and got knocked down to the bottom and have had to come all the way back. I still have a long way to go but with the help of amazing family and all the support I feel I have come pretty far.

ACT: We’ve noticed your Twitter is often filled with inspiring messages. What has been the best advice you have been given on this new chapter of yours?

KEVIN: Anything is possible. If you set your mind to it and tell yourself you can do it you can. It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun, but I feel I have proven anything is possible.

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Photo: Doing what he loves. (The Crash Reel)

ACT: Tell us about the LOVEYOURBRAIN campaign?

KEVIN: It has been hard trying to figure out what I’m going to do with this new life I have been given, and I find a lot of joy in helping and giving back. The idea of LOVEYOURBRAIN is to inspire and educate people about brain health. I have gotten to learn how many people are suffering and really going through a lot, and if I can help them in any way, that makes me feel better.

ACT: What do you think professional and extreme sports should do about preventing head injuries?

KEVIN: I think it’s up to the athletes in these sports, and kids to need to make sure they are being safe and smart at all times no matter what they are doing. I believe it should be the athlete’s choice to do what they want and how they want, but I truly believe in being safe and smart while doing it.

ACT: With the upcoming Olympics, do you have any standout favorites who will be competing?

KEVIN: Shaun is still at the top of my list. I would be lying if I said he wasn’t at the top of my list for winning half-pipe, but there are a bunch of other kids that are riding really well.  Ayumu Hirano really came out of nowhere last year along with a bunch of other kids, but Ayumu impressed me most. I’m really excited for this year’s Olympics, and having slopestyle in them is going to be sick. That field is wide open and a bunch of different guys have a chance to win that one.

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Photo: Kevin’s fans cheering him on. (The Crash Reel)

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