David Keir says on the evening of March 30 his son Max and an unidentified man in a yellow ski jacket swerved to avoid each other while skiing down a run called The Cut. He says the man thrust a ski pole at the boy's head with sufficient force to puncture his brain.
"It went through his skin, through the bone, through the brain membrane and into the right temporal lobe."
Skier sought after teen left with bullet-sized hole in skull on Grouse
Keir was speaking at a news conference organized by the North Vancouver RCMP who say they have exhausted all their leads.
"We don't know if it was intentional or accidental," said Sgt. Peter DeVries. "We need new information to progress the investigation."
Keir says Max was initially treated by ski patrol and then received stitches in an emergency room for the deep laceration.
But later that same evening he became dazed, confused and started vomiting. He was rushed back to hospital where he underwent emergency brain surgery.
"There were bone fragments and a pool of blood in his brain," said Keir. "When doctors showed me that image, you freak out as a parent."
Eight weeks later, Keir says his son is slowly recovering and just beginning to return to school for an hour a day.
Max ultimately spent four days in intensive care, and narrowly avoided emergency brain surgery. Nearly two months later, his family said hes still at the start of a long recovery.
He contends the incident was not accidental because Max reported that the man threw his ski pole at him.
"Someone is out there with big time anger issues," said Keir. "Maybe that person will do the right thing and come forward or, at the very least, get some help."
North Vancouver RCMP are still appealing for witnesses. They're especially interested in speaking with an unidentified woman who helped Max with his wound at the bottom of the ski run.
Anyone with information or video is asked to contact Const. Yushi Ebisawa with North Vancouver RCMP at 604-969-7345, or by email at [email protected]
At the time, Max was wearing a white Adidas brand hooded sweatshirt, a dark blue tuque and tan-coloured ski pants.
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The teenager, named Max, was out on a run called "The Cut" on March 30 when he crossed paths with another skier, believed to be an adult man.
Max Keir, whose face has been blurred by RCMP in this photo, suffered a brain injury on Grouse Mountain. RCMP Handout
North Vancouver RCMP are looking for witnesses to an incident on the Grouse Mountain slopes that left a teenage boy with a traumatic brain injury.
"Someones out there who has some big time anger issues. Someones out there who needs some help," Keir said.
On March 30, just before 7 p.m., 13-year-old Max Keir was skiing down a wide run known as The Cut when he swerved to avoid another skier, believed to be an adult male. He avoided the collision but was struck in the head by the man’s ski pole.
A 13-year-old skier was seriously injured after being struck by a mans ski pole on Grouse Mountain on March 30, 2019.
North Vancouver RCMP is asking for the publics help in solving an assault that occurred March 30 on Grouse Mountain. Jason Payne / PNG
The tip of the pole punctured Max’s skull, leaving a bullet-sized hole through his temporal bone.
“He thrust the pole with such significant force that it went all the way through his skull and into his brain,” David Keir, Max’s father, said during a news conference at the North Van RCMP detachment Wednesday.
Max, unaware of the seriousness of the injury, managed to finish his run down the mountain. The injury was noticed by an unidentified woman who offered help.
The teen was picked up by his parents and taken to Lions Gate Hospital, where he was treated for a laceration on his cheek and then released.
It was only later that his family realized something was seriously wrong with Max. With his son acting dazed and agitated at home, David and his wife took Max back to Lions Gate, where a CT scan revealed the extent of his injury.
“(The pole) went through the skin … It went through the fascia on top of the bone and it went through the temporal bone, which is a big, thick part of the skull. It went through the membranes that protect the brain and it went into the right temporal lobe of the brain by a distance of about three centimetres,” David said. “When the doctor on call showed me the CT scan and I saw the fragments, I saw the hole in his skull and I saw the pool of blood on his brain … You freak out as a parent.”
David doesn’t blame the emergency doctors at Lions Gate for sending Max home with just a few stitches.
“The accountability is with the parents to know your children and know that something is wrong,” he said. “(At Lions Gate) he wasn’t presenting any of the symptoms that we observed later. We advocated for Max because we recognized something was wrong. We got the CT scan … and through that it was quickly diagnosed as a traumatic brain injury.”
The Mounties say they haven’t been able to gather enough evidence to determine whether the contact was intentional or accidental.
North Van RCMP say they have exhausted “all available investigational avenues” and are appealing to witnesses — including the adult skier involved in the incident — to come forward.
Max was wearing tan/brown ski pants, a white Adidas hoodie with a black logo on the front, and green and black ski boots.
Anyone with information is asked to contact North Van RCMP Const. Yushi Ebisawa at 604-969-7345 or email [email protected]