Dave Irwin with the Crazy Canucks, fellow skiers.
Dave Irwin is one of the greatest skiers Canada has ever produced and, at the height of his racing career, he was one of the fastest downhill skiers in the world. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, he belonged to an elite group of Canadian ski racers, the Crazy Canucks, athletes noted for their speed and daring, who took on a sport, long dominated by the Europeans, and made it their own.
One last spectacular fall
But, in addition to the Crazy Canucks’ daredevil style, Irwin was known for something else—his spectacular crashes. His success came at a cost: two severe concussions in his twenties on the World Cup racing circuit. No one knew then the cumulative and long-term effect of these concussions on his brain. Then, on March 23, 2001, during a training run outside Banff, there was one more fall, one more head injury. This one would change his life forever.
After three days in a coma, hovering between life and death, Dave woke up. He had survived, but, his memory was obliterated. He didn’t remember his children, his friends, his brothers and sister, his fiancé, Lynne Harrison, or himself.
Dave Irwin, shortly after his fall in 2001.
The road to recovery
He then started on a long and painful road to recovery. He’d only met his fiancé, Lynne Harrison, ten months before his accident. They had been living together for three months. From the moment she walked into his hospital room, Lynne Harrison decided to do everything in her power to keep her lover alive.
Over the last six years she has been his constant companion, his teacher, his therapist, his friend. Her hard work and his determination have paid off. Dave Irwin has been able to recapture his life and against all odds, he is making the comeback of his life.