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Former snowboarding star to speak at Passages’ annual meeting

Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 12:01 am

Former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2009, will be the guest speaker at the annual meeting Oct. 10 of Passages, a social-service agency in Columbia City serving people with disabilities.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. at the Van Buren Event Center, 301 W. Van Buren St. in downtown Columbia City. Reservations are requested by Wednesday; call 1-260-244-7688, Ext. 320 or Ext. 317.

Pearce soared into national professional snowboarding competition in 2005, a biography says.

In 2007 and 2008, he won quarter pipe victories at The Oakley Artic Challenge and two Air&Style competitions, the biography says. He was named Ticket to Ride Champion at the end of the 2008 season.

At the 2009 Winter X Games, Pearce won a silver medal for Superpipe and was considered a strong contender to medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada.

On Dec. 31, 2009, however, while practicing on a half pipe for the Olympic trials and though wearing a helmet, Pearce suffered a traumatic brain injury in a fall, the bio says. He was hospitalized in critical condition and lay in a medically induced coma for a week.

Though he is unable to compete at his former level, Pearce has worked hard to recover from the brain injury, the bio says.

He also has stayed involved in snowboarding, attending and/or serving as a media analyst at events such as the Winter X Games and The Dew Tour since late 2011, the bio says.

In addition, Pearce has become a sports ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society, citing the inspiration of his older brother, David, who was born with Down syndrome. Pearce also serves as an advocate for education and research on traumatic brain injuries and their prevention.