For those of you who haven’t been following BMX news, newly-crowned BMX Park Dew Cup champ Brett “Mad Dog” Banasiewicz sustained a head injury on August 23 at the LXVI BMX Invitational. He was responsive when they took him to the hospital, but doctors placed him in a medically induced coma, which narrows the blood vessels in the brain to decrease swelling and bleeding. Despite not being fully conscious for two weeks and suffering from congestion due to being on a feeding tube, he showed steady progress. Fellow rider Zach “Catfish” Yankush shared updates from Brett’s mom through his Twitter.
On September 7, Brett opened his eyes. A few days later, his feeding tube was removed. He has begun rehabilitating, and the doctors expect a full recover. The entire community has been showing support for the young rider, and we expect to see him back on the bike some day in the future.
Although BMX riders are no strangers to bad accidents, Brett’s crash has brought up some big issues. There have been other pros who sustained brain injuries in the past few years, and Scotty Cranmer has decided that enough is enough. He Tweeted that he was switching to riding with a full-face helmet, which isn’t seen much outside of vert and racing. There are disadvantages to wearing a full-face helmet, but there’s undoubtedly more protection.
Another issue, for those who prefer the open-face skate style helmets, is the material. Daniel Dhers recently stressed the importance of choosing a proper hard shell helmet versus a soft shell one. The Athlete Recovery Fund also made a video to demonstrate the differences:
I wish Brett the best on his road to recovery, and I hope all riders take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe.