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Thursday, October 25, 2012
Banasiewicz: "On my way back"

By Brian Tunney
ESPN.com

On October 12, Brett "Mad Dog" Banasiewicz returned to Twitter following almost two months away from social media. "I'm not feeling the best," typed Banasiewicz from inside the Atlanta, Ga. traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center he's been at since September 24.

Friends, fans and fellow pros replied with words of encouragement to the 18-year-old BMX Dirt and Park pro, who crashed on August 23 in Virginia Beach, Va. Banasiewicz was placed in a medically induced coma to control bleeding and swelling on his brain, and remained unconscious for 15 days.

Yesterday, still in the rehabilitation center in Atlanta, Banasiewicz awoke earlier than usual. Still unable to speak because of damaged vocal cords suffered during intubation, Banasiewicz started writing down questions about his crash, his family, his friends and how far he's come in recovery.

"That means even more of his brain has been turned back on and is functioning," said his care giver, Trish Bare Grounds of Bare Essentials Sports Medicine.

Banasiewicz continued on with his day: occupational therapy, lunch, physical therapy, speech therapy. Throughout the day, they were accompanied by Aaron Cooke of the Athlete Recovery Fund, who documented Brett's day in the above video. Earlier today, the video went live on Vimeo. Banasiewicz watched the video, copied the link and posted another message to Twitter.

"On my way back, I'm gonna beat this."

Banasiewicz will remain in rehabilitation for the time being, but has already set motivational goals which will help him leave the facility in due time: leave the wheelchair, leave the feeding tube behind and get his voice back.

Brett's family continues to deal with mounting medical bills, and are actively seeking donations. Several fundraisers have been organized within the BMX community to aid the cause. Dan's Comp continues to offer t-shirts on the Dan's Comp website, the Athlete Recovery Fund is also now offering t-shirts through the ARF website, and grip manufacturer ODI now has a limited edition pair of grips (in Brett's favorite grip color combination: pink and green), with sales profits being donated to Brett's recovery.