TOW fifth grader & top surfer Brayden Belden suffers grave head injury while snowboarding

On February 20, Brayden Belden, a towheaded 11-year-old boy known for his terrific surfing skills and happy personality, suffered a near-fatal head injury following a snowboarding jump while on vacation with his family in Oregon.

The young boy was stabilized at a hospital in Bend and airlifted to the pediatric intensive care unit at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland, where he now lies in a medically induced coma as he recovers.

His parents were initially told that Brayden had just hours to live. 

Thanks to timely medical care, according to his dad Matt Belden, Brayden’s condition has stabilized and he is expected to survive, though “he’ll have a long road back,” notes a statement on the GoFundMe page that has been set up by friends to help Brayden’s family deal with expected astronomical medical expenses.

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Photo from GoFundMe page

Brayden Belden in action

The latest update on the page, written by his dad Matt, reads in part: “I am very happy to announce that all the medical staff are in agreement with a 99 percent chance of no craniectomy [removal of part of the skull to allow for brain swelling].

“Brayden’s brain swelling appears to have topped out and he is tolerating his meds. He is following the treatment plan and is fighting. Denise and I thank you so much for all of your love and support and I know Brayden feels all the love and prayers and he is fighting.”

Friend Lula Buckle, 11, of Thurston Middle School, says, “Brayden is a true water boy, who always has a smile on his face, he’s funny, daring and the most amazing surfer. We are all so sad that this happened. I think about him and his family all the time. I just want to see him back in the water soon doing what he loves.” 

Brayden won the Under 13 division at the Brooks Street Classic last fall. He is the older brother of Riley, 9, and Kaley, 5, who also attend TOW. 

To contribute to the GoFundMe account, click on

Only a week after the accident, close to $130,000 has already been raised. 

Parents Matt and Denise Belden have expressed their deep gratitude for the generous contributions, as well as for everyone’s thoughts and prayers for Brayden’s full recovery.

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