Former snowboarding legend Kevin Pearce is set to receive the Stoked 2013 Achievement Award today in New York City. The Stoked Foundation, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower youth through board sports, will honor Pearce, not only for his bravery and perseverance in the wake of a devastating injury he sustained in 2009, but also for his dedication to community, family, and philanthropic work.
Pearce's story is nothing if not inspirational, and tells of triumph in the face of heartbreak. Seemingly destined for glory in the 2010 Olympics, the young boarder's dreams were obliterated while training in 2009 when a botched trick maneuver resulted in a traumatic brain injury. The rehabilitation was arduous and painful, forcing the once world-class athlete to relearn even the simplest of tasks. Against his doctors' and family's wishes, he tried to give board sports one more shot, but soon realized that the damage to his brain had taken its toll on his athletic prowess.
For some, that might have been the end of it. The young man could have retreated into a personal isolation, forever waxing nostalgic about the good old days, but Pearce wasn't one to accept defeat. He went on to become a sports commentator, motivational speaker, and advocate for Down syndrome and brain injury prevention. His foundation, The Kevin Pearce Fund, now looks to support organizations that assist families struggling to overcome the challenges of brain-related illnesses and injuries. "Kevin's resilience and inspiration serves as a testament to the power of board sports and the influence of the action sports community," says Stoked founder Steve Larosiliere, in a press release, "The Stoked Awards are a celebration of Stoked's work and shows that with confidence, determination, and vision you can impact many lives."