On March 30, just before 7 p.m., 13-year-old Max Keir was skiing down the final third of The Cut ski run alongside the Screaming Eagle chairlift when he had a near miss with an adult male skier, according to police.
Witnesses sought after ski pole pierces teens skull on Grouse Mountain
Next thing you know this guy was in front of him and in Maxs own words: He threw his pole at me, Maxs father David told a press conference at the North Vancouver RCMP detachment Wednesday.
“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.”
Skier sought after teen left with bullet-sized hole in skull on Grouse
When Max arrived at the bottom of the run, a friend pointed out the blood running down his face. Grouse Mountain ski patrol and an unidentified woman helped patch him up and his parents took him to the hospital, believing it was just a deep cut.
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.
As the night went on, new and more troubling symptoms developed. Max was confused, agitated and vomiting, so they decided to go back to the hospital.
The CT scan revealed a bullet sized hole in his skull, he said. It went through the skin. It went through the fascia thats on top of the bone. It went right 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 his brain – a distance of about three centimetres.
Max spent four days in intensive care at BC Childrens Hospital. Hes out now and on a long road to recovery. With some cognitive challenges currently, hes only able to be in school for a couple hours a day. It could be a year before he can return to the competitive sports he excels at.
He wasnt wearing his helmet at the time, which was against his familys policy but police said there is no way of knowing whether a helmet would have prevented such a serious injury.
You have to be optimistic. You have to believe things will work out, he said. Generally were moving in the right direction.
Weve exhausted all investigational avenues and in order to move forward with investigation, we need more information from witnesses, said Sgt. Peter DeVries, North Vancouver RCMP spokesman.
Specifically, they are hoping to hear from the woman who assisted Max at the base of the run, or anyone who may have smartphone or helmet cam footage that may show what happened.
Max was wearing tan ski pants, a white hoodie with a black Adidas logo and green and black ski boots. The adult was described only as wearing a yellow ski jacket.
That is absolutely at the core of our investigation. We wont know that until we identify the person who was involved and are able to speak with that person, he said. We want to appeal to that person to come forward and let us know what happened.
With the investigation stalled, the Keir family offered to make their story public in hopes it would bring some closure for Max.
As a parent you have to be able to look your kids in the eyes and say weve done everything we can to try and make this right, he said.
Even if they never find the person responsible, Keir said he hopes the man at least seeks out help for his own sake.
Someones out there with some big time anger issues, he said. Do the right thing. Make it right.
The father of a 13-year-old North Vancouver skier who suffered a serious brain injury on Grouse Mountain made an emotional appeal on Wednesday for the person responsible to come forward.
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."
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."
The family of a 13-year-old boy who suffered a serious head injury after being struck by a ski pole on Grouse Mountain is asking the person involved to come forward. 2
Eight weeks later, Keir says his son is slowly recovering and just beginning to return to school for an hour a day.
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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