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Sunday, November 18, 2012
Banasiewicz to return home

By Brian Tunney
ESPN.com

Brett Banasiewicz at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga. earlier this week.

On September 24, DK Bicycles BMX pro Brett Banasiewicz was transported to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Ga. to begin rehabilitation on a traumatic brain injury suffered on August 23 in Virginia Beach, Va. Banasiewicz was transported to Atlanta via MedJet medical transport, and entered the Shepherd Center on a stretcher.

Yesterday morning, he walked out of the facility on his own. Banasiewicz, 18, will remain in the Atlanta area for several days to finish up treatment in a hyperbaric chamber before returning home to South Bend, Ind. for the Thanksgiving holiday. After some time at home with his family, Banasiewicz will travel to Dallas, Texas to begin outpatient therapy.

Upon entering the facility in Atlanta, Banasiewicz set three goals for himself: leave the wheelchair, leave the feeding tube behind and get his voice back. He accomplished all three goals, having the feeding tube removed earlier this week, mumbling "I want an iPhone 5" on Friday and walking to the car yesterday. Banasiewicz also regained over twenty pounds in the past two weeks.

"See ya later Shepherd Center, I'm outta here," said Banasiewicz as he walked out of the facility yesterday morning.

"He says he didn't think he could be this tough and has surprised himself a bit," said Trish Bare Grounds of Bare Essentials Sports Medicine on Friday, referring to the hours of therapy he has endured daily since entering the rehabilitation facility. Banasiewicz scored ten of ten on his final cognitive therapy examination, and had even moved on to personal shopping trips during occupational therapy. "Random memories are starting to come back, the healing is happening," she added.

Banasiewicz crashed on August 23 in Virginia Beach, Va. He was placed in a medically induced coma to control bleeding and swelling on his brain, and remained unconscious for 15 days.

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.