By Elizabeth Hart


Kevin and Adam Pearce. Photo credit: Love Your Brain's social media team. Learn more about #LoveYourBrain on Facebook.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a special screening of The Crash Reel hosted by The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. The screening was followed by a Q&A featuring Kevin Pearce, the subject of the film, and his brother, Adam Pearce.

Kevin Pearce was a rising professional snowboarder favored to make the 2010 U.S. Olympic team when he had a severe head injury during a training accident in Utah. The film follows his long rehabilitation process and his struggle to adjust to life with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Several individuals with TBI were present at the screening and commended the film’s portrayal of the challenges of transitioning home after intensive rehabilitation. Some spoke about the everyday challenges they faced in going about their lives with TBI. In the film, Kevin struggles with activities of daily living like medication management and he longs to be able to resume mundane tasks like fueling up his car. It’s a striking testimony to the power of everyday activities. For more information on how occupational therapy practitioners help individuals with TBI reintegrate back into the community, read AOTA’s fact sheet.

  
Photo credit: Love Your Brain's social media team. Learn more about #LoveYourBrain on Facebook.

Many occupational therapy practitioners will recognize Kevin’s struggle to accept the reality of his injury. Despite repeated warnings from his doctors and family about the dangers of another head injury, Kevin is determined to return to professional snowboarding. The film follows his long journey to create a new normal after TBI. Part of this journey includes a newfound purpose. He and his family have started the Kevin Pearce Fund to support individuals affected by traumatic brain injury and Down syndrome. Kevin and his brother Adam have started a campaign called Love Your Brain aimed at preventing TBI by promoting a “brain healthy lifestyle.”

The Crash Reel is available on DVD and via digital download. Check out a list of other movies occupational therapy students and practitioners will love .

Elizabeth is an occupational therapy student at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill completing a Level II fieldwork at the American Occupational Therapy Association this summer.