More than a week after DK Bicycles sponsored BMX pro Brett Banasiewicz crashed in Virginia Beach, Va., the 17-year-old continues to show improvement, though he has not fully woken up yet.
"Brett is not awake yet but he is so close," said medic Trish Bare Grounds, who has been with Banasiewicz since his Aug. 23 crash.
"[His] eye opening continues to get more focused and is lasting longer periods of time," she added. Banasiewicz has also demonstrated improvement in the movement of his arms, and has been able to smile at times during visits from friends and family, including his father, Bill Banasiewicz.
The South Bend, Ind., pro has been moved out of the intensive care unit and has been taken off a ventilator. "He is communicating with hand signals and is aware of his surroundings," his mother, Lisa, said.
Because Banasiewicz spent more than a week on a feeding tube, he developed a sinus infection that has affected his nasal drainage. Doctors are working on clearing his nasal passage and keeping his lungs clear of fluid. "Patients tend to get sinus drainage issues from having a feeding tube up their nose, and Brett is no different. Focus is on continuing to get it cleared out and keeping his lungs cleared," Bare Grounds said on Friday.
She said Banasiewicz appeared to be having issues with coordination and movement on his left side: "His right side essentially has full range of motion as well as strength, although [he] still needs some work on purposeful coordination. The left side is making huge strides, although [it] appears to be the most frustrating thing for Brett at this time."
The latest CT scans showed that bleeding on Banasiewicz's brain had dried up and that reduction of swelling on the brain had begun.
"The doctors tell us he will open his eyes when Brett is ready. My Brett is a very strong-willed young man and this recovery will be on Brett's time," Brett's mother, Lisa, said.
Banasiewicz crashed during practice on a 720 at the LXVI BMX Invitational presented by Vans in Virginia Beach, Va.