Tampa Bay

Winter Sports and Brain Injury

It is very common to hear about concussions when discussing football or a recent auto accident, but many forget that snowboarders and skiers are just as susceptible to head injuries. Concussions are the most common injury that snowboarders face when riding but for them, they would prefer a concussion over a broken bone. These young adults see head injuries as an easier recovery process compared to an ACL tear or a broken ankle, but what they often fail to comprehend is the long-term prognosis for victims of a closed head injury.

Kevin Pearce, winter X-Games snowboarder, suffered six concussions; the last one ended his career for good. Three weeks prior to his career ending accident, Pearce was practicing and took a hard hit to the head. Instead of taking the necessary time to heal and recover from this concussion, he decided that on December 31, 2009 he would give the half pipe another try.  Unfortunately his attempt was unsuccessful and once again he fell on his head, but this time he did not sustain a concussion. Rather, he suffered a traumatic brain injury that completely altered his life. Kevin Pearce was flown to the University of Utah Medical Center and was not released until January 26, 2010. He was then transferred out of critical care and moved to Craig Hospital in Denver, Colorado, a rehabilitation center specializing in traumatic brain injuries. It was not until June 2010 that Pearce could reunite with family and friends.  However, he will never again snowboard at the X-Games.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can affect a person for the remainder of their life, and take years to possibly recover from. When suffering a TBI there are many long term symptoms that may manifest such as: changes in social behavior, constant headaches, numbness in the limbs, loss of coordination, confusion, restlessness, agitation, memory and vision loss, etc. Athletes whose hobbies are also their careers are much more likely to experience an injury such as a TBI.  At this time, most athletes fail to appreciate or acknowledge the long-term effects of concussions are something that concerns them. Hopefully after reading about other athletes such as Kevin Pearce and the effect it had on his career, it could change some perspectives.

Matthew A. Dolman, Esq., is a traumatic brain injury attorney.  He has built a reputation among his peers for successful outcomes obtained for victims of traumatic brain injury.  For more information or to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, please call the injury law attorneys at the Dolman Law Group today at: (727) 451-6900.

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