Doctors at the University of Utah Hospital today upgraded the condition of snowboarder Kevin Pearce from critical to serious, providing family and friends with more reason to believe they will once again--hopefully soon--be able to enjoy the personable athlete's infectious smile.
Pearce, who suffered a brain injury last week during halfpipe training in Park City, remains in the intensive care unit. But he has been regaining consciousness and doctors were able to remove his breathing tubes and added that he's following commands."While we're pleased that he's improving faster than anticipated, he still has a long recovery ahead of him," said Holly Ledyard, one of Kevin's doctors.
This played out today as Pearce's best friend, Danny Davis, was winning the Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix competition at Mammoth Mountain in California's Eastern Sierra region. The event serves as a qualifier for the Vancouver Olympics, which will begin next month.
Pearce had been training for the Mammoth competition when he was injured.
Davis told reporters afterward: "I had Kev on my mind and right before every run I was making sure I had him in spirit. I know we're sending vibes back to each other and it was good. I asked Kev to help me through that one. He's not up, but we're mentally on the same wavelength now. He's helped me through my runs and it's been nice to have him."
What a story it'd be--and it's not out of the question--if Davis can dethrone defending-Olympic champion Shaun White and claim the gold in Vancouver in honor of Pearce, who was expected to earn a spot on the U.S. team. (White was second at Mammoth.)
However, it's far too soon for anyone to be thinking about that. Pearce's fans are asked to share heir support via Kevin's Facebook Fan page, which has been a busy place these past several days.-- Pete Thomas
Photo of Kevin Pearce courtesy of Moran/Burton