“Every 13 seconds, someone in the U.S. sustains a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Unlike most injuries, TBI often leads to lifelong physical, behavioral, and emotional challenges that are largely invisible. As a result, many people affected by TBI lack the support and understanding they deserve,” Adam Pearce, Co-Founder of non-profit, LoveYourBrain tells ASN.
After Adam’s brother, Kevin Pearce sustained a severe traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the two founded a non-profit that changes people’s lives – Including my own.
Prior to his injury, Kevin was on the forefront of competitive snowboarding and proved himself to be the only one that could beat Shaun White on a regular basis. While getting ready to conquer White on the greatest stage of all, Kevin’s life changed forever.
Doctors know little about TBI’s, which can leave patients confused and upset. Largely because they don’t remember the injury happening, the symptoms aren’t tangible, and the brain makes you think that you’re okay when you’re not. Try telling that to a TBI patient and they’ll say, “Yeah, but I feel fine.” For most, this leads to ongoing frustrations that can make it hard for them to accept their circumstances and move on with life.
That is, until they’re introduced to LoveYourBrain. Through Kevin’s relatable personality and Adam’s diligence to understand the healing process, the two have cultivated a community large enough to spark discussion among the world’s top neurologists.
We connected with Adam and Kevin where they were able to give us the inside scoop.
I’m familiar with many of the things that LoveYourBrain does, but every time I check your site, it seems like you’re up to something new. Would you mind giving us the rundown?
Adam: LoveYourBrain offers yoga, mediation, educational curriculums, retreats and, above all, a community for those affected by TBI.
We now offer our LoveYourBrain yoga program in 35 studios across 19 states and three Canadian provinces with an aim of being in all 50 states by 2021. We also host retreats that are designed with an integrated approach using our core pillars: community, mindfulness, movement, and nutrition. We believe these pillars help people cultivate the resilient mindset, physical capability, and support system essential to one’s health and happiness.
How did you guys get to this point, and what were some of the things you did to gain traction for LoveYourBrain in the beginning?
Adam: For the first two years, we spent a lot of time listening and learning. When I say that, I’m talking about listening to Kevin and myself as a caregiver, dealing with what was happening, how Kevin and I were dealing with each other, and how yoga and meditation became a big part of our lives.
We also gained a lot of traction from The Crash Reel. Hearing what people said to us after they watched our documentary made us realize that this problem is massive.
What we started realizing at the core of every scenario was that community support was the most important aspect in peoples’ lives. There was a huge difference in those that had family and friends around them and those that did not.
So that inspired us to create programs that could bring people together. Not in the way of saying, “You should see this doctor” or, “You should take this vitamin,” but more along the lines of creating a space for people affected by TBI where their voices could be heard and they could be around others who share the same or similar struggles. That was the core of LoveYourBrain, and still is: cultivating a community and resilience.
I noticed that people are doing a lot to give back. For example, I saw that a couple even registered LoveYourBrain for their wedding. How exactly did that work?
Adam: We’ve actually had a number of people do things like that. The way it worked with that particular example was, one of the members of the couple was affected by TBI and instead of receiving gifts for their wedding, they asked for donations to LoveYourBrain.
Another good story to share – we had someone raise $18,000 at the New York City Marathon after he sustained a very serious TBI from being struck by an Uber driver while riding his bike through the city.
Kevin, in wake of trauma, could you ever have imagined that you would turn your situation into something so beautiful and inspirational?
Kevin: For me, it’s not about looking at the problem as much as it’s about finding the pieces to solve it, and move forward. A lot of people are dealt hard situations and most of the time, they’re quite large.
That’s the attitude I had with snowboarding, and that’s the attitude I have now. It’s like when I was faced with beating Shaun White. That’s what I wanted to do, so I put the pieces together to make it happen.
I’m in a much different place than I was before and I hope that people learn more about the things I do to heal.
More Snowboarding Content From ASN