“I’m not like scared of saying that I’m brain-injured and I’ll always be brain-injured, and that’s just how it is,” he said. “. . . I’m trying to figure out my life pretty much. It’s pretty crazy. It was all kind of heading in this one direction, and everything was going so well. I was at the top of snowboarding. I was hanging with all my buddies. We were just living the best life, just living it up, and then it just kind of turned pretty quickly to the exact opposite of that.”
Pearce thinks about the future, of course. Just not very often and not very hard. Wisely, he isn’t looking too far ahead. He and some friends are gathering in Colorado this weekend to start shooting a pilot for a reality-TV show — about snowboarders, naturally — that they hope to get picked up. After spending seven months living with his parents in Vermont, he was able to move back into his own place in Southern California. He has dabbled in television commentary for snowboarding competitions, but he’s not ready to think about a career, or even a steady job.
“I’m not really in position to have a nine-to-five right now,” he said.
Whatever the future holds, it will not include competitive snowboarding.
“What I’ve heard from everybody is that if I hit my head again, it’s just game over. I’m done for. . . . And I don’t want to go through this again. It’s been such a struggle on me and such a struggle on my family, and such a burden for so many people to deal with. I don’t want to put that on them again.”
For now, it isn’t so bad being 24 years old, with few responsibilities outside of rehab, with plenty of friends and family to lean on, and with some money coming in from the several sponsors who stuck with him after the accident.
“The future is going to be mellow, and it’s a bummer that it has to be so mellow,” he said. “But I’m still young, and I’ve still got my whole life ahead of me. I’m not stressing it too hard yet.”