Time seemed to stand still for Lisa Banasiewicz Thursday afternoon. She was in South Bend, hundreds of miles from Virginia Beach ... where her 17-year-old son Brett suffered an accident during practice. He was wearing a helmet when it happened.
“I just kept thinking, 'OK, this isn't that bad, this isn't that bad, he's going to wake up,'” she recalled after receiving the phone call that her son was unconscious after an 8-foot fall. “I heard he was out for 5 minutes, I heard he was out for 10 minutes, then I heard he wasn't waking up and then I was freaking.”
Eventually, after being unconscious more than two hours, her son woke up but was soon put into a medically induced coma by trauma doctors.
Friday, the BMX star and Washington High School senior was expected to remain in that coma until at least Sunday.
It’s too soon to know how serious his brain injury is, but a neurosurgeon told Banasiewicz’s parents they’ll be better able to assess the severity of his head injury after he wakes up. There’s a possibility, Lisa said, that Brett could make a full recovery. Doctors are currently monitoring swelling and bleeding in his brain.
News of Brett’s injury immediately spread to the Washington High School community via Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.
“Coming in today, you saw something was wrong ... the kids and their faces,” said Brett’s sophomore English teacher and mentor Brian Ginzer. “It seems like everybody’s pulling for him, everybody’s praying.”
Ginzer, who said Brett is like family, struggled to tell his 11 and 14-year-old sons the news Thursday night.
“How do you explain to a child that there's something wrong with a kid you idolize? It's tough,” Ginzer said. “Everything seemed to be on the upswing coming into this year. He just won the Dew Tour. We all watched it, it was fantastic.”
As his career catapulted, Brett also took time to give back to the community where he grew up, including building an indoor skate park off Sample Street called "The Kitchen."
It’s been a good place for aspiring BMX riders from our area and around the Midwest because good skate parks with varying levels of difficulty are tough to find.
“I look up to him a lot because he’s really young, he’s around my age too and he’s progressed a lot,” said Adam Song, who was training at The Kitchen Friday afternoon.
Song and his friend Stan Wodziz said they found out about Brett’s accident when they arrived at the skate park.
“I thought it was crazy because he's like one of the best riders out there and I didn't really think he'd go down like that. It’s kind of shocking,” added Wodziz.
Although Lisa Banasiewicz said it’s too soon to tell how long her son’s recovery will take, she said he’ll definitely be in the Virginia Beach hospital two or three weeks. Brett’s father is at the hospital with their son now and Lisa plans to travel there soon.
He’ll likely be out the rest of this season, but Lisa said she’s confident her son will ride again.
“I’m sure we’ll have lots of conversations, I'm sure i'll try to get him back into something safer but if I know Brett and I know his passion, I know what he loves. He'll be on a bike sooner than I like, competing sooner than I would ever want and ignoring me once again which is very normal in our family and I'm looking forward to that,” Lisa said.
“I know that kid’s strong,” Ginzer said. “I know he’s been through a lot in his life and I know his family is all around him. He’s going to be OK.”