“Love Your Brain” makes lasting impact on BG and surrounding community

Kevin Pearce answers questions following the screening of his documentary,

Nicole Bankowski

Kevin Pearce answers questions following the screening of his documentary, "Crash Reel".

Nicole Bankowski, Editor-in-chief

 

On Thursday Oct. 23, the BG community had the opportunity to gain insight into the life of former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce and learn about the accident that changed his life forever.

While training for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games, Pearce was critically injured after hitting his head forcefully on the half pipe. Pearce spent months in medical care and rehabilitation, having been checked in on Dec. 31, 2009 and not checking out until the following June.

Though Pearce had planned on continuing to snowboard after recovery, his injury proved to be too critical, having impacted his vision and day-to-day life. Instead, Pearce pioneered “Love Your Brain”, a social movement that helps improve lives through a mindful approach that focuses on brain injury prevention, rehabilitation and brain health.

“There’s a lot more to this than it sounds,” Pearce said. “Loving your brain is so important. Those negative thoughts that you put through your head are damaging.”

In addition to this movement, Pearce has also created the Kevin Pearce Fund which, in partnership with the Vermont Community Foundation, helps fund families who have faced challenges similar to those of the Pearce’s when they were helping Kevin throughout his recovery.

“We know everything about every other piece of our body, but we know so little about our brains,” Pearce said.

The community received the opportunity to view Pearce’s documentary, “Crash Reel”, and then ask the former snowboarder any remaining questions they still had after viewing the movie.

The event was organized by psychology teacher Kate Smith and a group of student volunteers. Senior Keli Vitaioli had watched Pearce’s documentary last year in AP psychology  and was inspired to help coordinate the gathering. As the technology coordinator, Vitaioli helped run the lighting and the sound and was in charge of making sure Pearce was content and everything was running smoothly.

“I think what surprised me the most about Kevin was that he comes to this random school in the suburbs and is talking to me backstage about the shows we do here and where I plan on going to college,” Vitaioli said. “He’s a genuinely good guy and wants everyone to feel important, and that’s amazing for somebody who’s been through such a traumatic event.”

According to Pearce, he believes this accident happened to him for a reason, for now he has the opportunity to go out into the world and help people. Though he continuously lives with the effects of this incident, he is ultimately happy where his life stands right now, and wouldn’t  go back and change anything, even if he had the chance.

“It’s getting to that point where I’ve finally learned how to love my brain,” Pearce said.