Scar Bros

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCSanDiego.com

    Shaun White's second career Olympic gold medal will go down as one of the more memorable moments of these Winter Games. But the never-before-used-in-competition trick he landed Wednesday night is not the number one Shaun White moment for one of his biggest fans. Kyle Neal's favorite trick is the one where White jumped right over his head.

    It was caught on home video at a halfpipe in Breckenridge, Colorado in December 2008. Kyle was there on a free vacation with his family. It started with a wish.

    "I get tired really easily," said Kyle, now 19.

    He was born with a condition which he describes as having part of his heart backwards. Kyle's been through three open-heart surgeries, the most recent of which was just five months before that trip to Colorado.

    After complications and an infection, Kyle spent almost three weeks in the hospital following that surgery. It was then, the Make A Wish Foundation contacted him, telling him to make a wish. He knew exactly who he wanted to meet.

    "He was a guy I could relate to," said Kyle, "He rides pretty much like I do, just go out there, do whatever. Go big."

    What Kyle did not know is that the two of them had more in common than snowboarding.

    "I was like, no way," said Kyle.

    Shaun White was also born with a heart defect and underwent more than one open heart surgery growing up. Inside his scrapbook, Kyle has a picture of the two of them with shirts up, comparing scars. Next to that picture is written "Scar Bros". And the similarities don't end there.

    "My mom started talking to his mom and she found out we had the same surgeon," he said.

    Kyle's mom, Victoria Hanson, credits that trip to Colorado with helping her son to heal. "Beyond grateful," she said, "It gave him hope in the hospital for something to look forward to."

    Sitting on the couch, alongside an autographed snowboard, and a scrapbook full of pictures, Kyle also brought something less tangible home from that trip.

    "That shows me that I can do whatever I want and try and shoot at being just like him." he said.

    The entire family was watching from their living room in Santee Wednesday night when White won the gold for the second straight Olympics. Now, Kyle said he has a message for his Scar Bro, "Congrats on the gold, and let's go riding again sometime."