Monday, February 10, 2014

The Crash Reel

I've been stoked to watch The Crash Reel since I read about it in Outdoor magazine last year which had a great article about how common TBIs are and how these athletes aren't covered by insurance. Some folks move in with their families for recovery and some folks never leave. Everyone should see this documentary.

While preparing for the 2010 Olympics and poised to beat rival Shaun White, Kevin Pearce suffers a massive head injury. With the help of his fantastic family, Kevin attempts to retrain his fragile brain and   rebuild his dramatically altered post-TBI life. His family is just amazing. The movie isn't just about Kevin. One of the highlights of the film is when his brother David shares his frustration of having to live with Down syndrome. David is very frank with Kevin at the family meeting concerning Kevin returning to snowboarding. 

One of the most disturbing scenes to watch is when Kevin and his mom visit Trevor Rhoda, who is currently into TBI #2. I did a little surfing to find out his history. It turns out some of his relatives clearly had no clue how fragile the TBI brain becomes. It's mind blowing. He was literally back out doing what he did pre-TBI in less than a year post-TBI. His initial recovery was so quick, his family/friends must've thought it was green light for all actively. We learn with Kevin that the post-TBI brain cannot sustain any sort of jarring let alone another injury. The doctor also shows Kevin the scars in his brain tissue.

It is heart wrenching watching Rory Bushfield talk about Sarah Burke. Sarah died in January, 2012 due to an accident in the same half pipe in Park City. I've looked at a few videos of the two of them together in interviews; they are so happy and clearly they are the each other's soul mate. 

This is the best film - not just best documentary - I've seen since Medora. Warning: You won't care much for Shaun White after watching this. His exclusive for-me-only Red Bull half-pipe was always a problem for me, but when you see what he does when Kevin starts winning competitions, it will really turn you off of the Flying Tomato.

Addendum: I could not get this film out of my head, so I watched it again. Honestly, I could pop it again and watch it a third time; it's that good. Something else that's been bugging me - Shaun White's performance in the Sochi Olympics. You know he must've planned on pulling out some kick ass tricks. I would like to think that the popularity and reality of this film is gnawing at him. He admits to about 9 concussions in the film. I think he's attached himself to "what if" and can't shake it off. 

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