EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — With a big ski competition days away, 10-year-old Brayden Head was practicing with his team at Vail when a snowboarder slammed into him and took off.
"I skied down to a catwalk and then a snowboarder came, and I kind of heard his board coming up in the snow. So, I turned and he hit my shoulder right here," Head said, explaining how the collision happened.
Head just finished skiing one of his favorite runs, Lover's Leap in Blue Sky Basin. His coach was nearby and rushed over to help, but the snowboarder didn't stop.
"I’m just kind of mad that he didn’t apologize," Head said. "It would be the least that he could do — to say sorry."
The impact from the crash knocked Head off his skis and sent him flying about eight feet. The binding on one of his skis was also broken.
Despite being in severe pain, his coach helped him to the nearest chairlift. Ski patrol assisted in bringing him down the mountain, and then he was rushed to the hospital.
"I think that he should’ve stopped because, like, there’s someone hurt and you want to see if they’re OK," Head said.
During the journey from Blue Sky Basin to the hospital, Head couldn't stop thinking about his competition. He just landed his first backflip the day before, and he couldn't be more excited.
"I was really scared because I really wanted to do the competition that I had on Wednesday," Head said. "I was asking my coach if he thought it was broken, and that’s really all I remember."
Doctor's confirmed his shoulder was broken, and they set it back into place. Head has to wear a sling for the next few weeks, so for now, his ski season is on pause.
"I love skiing, and skiing is my favorite sport," Head said. "I really like to play sports and run around with my friends at school, and I can’t do that."
The accident hasn't dampened Head's passion for skiing, and he plans to hit the slopes as soon as he is healed. He hopes to ski at A-Basin later this year, as long as he has permission from his parents and his doctor.
"I want to say thank you to the ski patrollers, my coach Hunter and my parents for taking such good care of me, also the doctors," Head said.
Head hopes his story will remind people to be careful and do the right thing if they are involved in an accident while skiing.
"I think it was just because he was going a little too fast and being kind of reckless," Head said.