Doctor: Injured snowboarder’s condition improving

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah doctor says American snowboarder Kevin Pearce is improving in a Salt Lake City hospital.

Dr. Holly Ledyard says in a statement Wednesday that Pearce’s breathing tube has been removed. She says he’s slowly regaining consciousness and is able to follow commands.

Pearce suffered a severe brain injury Thursday in Park City while preparing for Olympic qualifying events. The 22-year-old from Norwich, Vt., is a top-ranked halfpipe rider.

Pearce remains in the intensive care unit at the University of Utah Hospital, where his condition has been upgraded from critical to serious. Ledyard says he’s improving faster than anticipated, but still has a long recovery ahead.