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Snowboarder Kevin Pearce is regaining consciousness; has been upgraded from critical to serious condition

January 7, 2010 |  7:02 am

Kevin Pearce competes during the final of the men's Snowboard Halfpipe FIS World Cup 2009 event on the Allalin glacier in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

Snowboarder Kevin Pearce has been upgraded from critical to serious condition, according to his doctors at the University of Utah Hospital. Although Pearce still faces a long recovery, this is a very big step and his doctors are "cautiously" optimistic, given his current progress.

Pearce had been training in the halfpipe at Park City, Utah, for this week's Olympics qualifier at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and was knocked unconscious when he caught his toe-side edge while landing a cab double cork -- a twisting double back flip maneuver he's landed before.

One of Pearce's doctors, Holly Ledyard, a neurointensivist (a physician with specialized education and training in critical neurological conditions), remains positive about his condition.

“Kevin is in serious condition and remains in intensive care. We’ve been able to remove his breathing tube, and he is slowly regaining consciousness and able to follow commands," Ledyard said in an update posted on the Facebook Fan page that Pearce's family created for fans who want to offer wishes and support.

"While we’re pleased that he’s improving faster than anticipated, he still has a long recovery ahead of him,” added Ledyard.

Close friend Danny Davis must have been channeling Pearce, Pete Thomas reports on his blog. Davis landed a monumental second run that included three double corks to best fellow competitor Shaun White and take the top spot in the halfpipe competition Wednesday at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix. It was the first time Davis had ever landed three double corks in one run.

"I had Kev on my mind and right before every run I was making sure I had him in spirit. I know we're sending vibes back to each other and it was good," Davis said. "I asked Kev to help me through that one. He's not up, but we're mentally on the same wavelength now. He's helped me through my runs and it's been nice to have him."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Kevin Pearce competes during the final of the men's Snowboard Halfpipe FIS World Cup 2009 event on the Allalin glacier in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Credit: Jean-Christophe Bott / Associated Press / Keystone

Related:

Snowboarder Kevin Pearce remains in critical condition with traumatic brain injury

Snowboarder Kevin Pearce in critical condition after halfpipe accident

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