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Snowboarder Kevin Pearce in critical condition after halfpipe accident

January 2, 2010 |  8:28 am

Snowboarder Kevin Pearce poses for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit in Chicago. Top Olympic snowboarding hopeful Kevin Pearce is in critical condition, injured while training in Park City, Utah, for next week's Olympics qualifier at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Pearce, 22, hit his head above one of his eyes on an icy halfpipe wall and was knocked unconscious, reports Pete Thomas on his blog.

Pearce was airlifted to the University of Utah Hospital, where he had surgery Thursday evening to relieve fluid buildup on his brain. He remains in critical but stable condition.

Pearce, of Norwich, Vt., has been considered a favorite to make the U.S. Olympic Team. He is one of the few competitors to challenge snowboarder Shaun White, besting him at the Burton European Open in 2008 and 2009 and taking the silver medal at last winter's X Games, losing the gold medal to White by one point.

Family members have set up a Facebook page, where fans can offer their support and well wishes.

"We would like to thank everyone for their support at this time and ask that you keep Kevin in your thoughts and prayers during his recovery," his parents, Simon and Pia Pearce, said in a statement issued Friday.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Snowboarder Kevin Pearce poses for a portrait during the USOC Media Summit in Chicago last year. Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press

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