ARF Update

Some words from the ARF:



“Brett was a benefactor and now a beneficiary of Athletic Recovery Fund. ARF is more than funding…through our experience…it’s resource guidance, compassion, humanity, generosity and devotion to Athletes in need through the recovery process. ARF is the core foundation for the support of an Athlete’s comeback and future. We see the difference.” Bill Banasiewicz, father to Brett Banasiewicz.  Read more about what ARF does below in our article “What you don’t know about ARF until you need it“.


Thankfully the Mayans were wrong and we are all still here to enjoy the sports we love and support.  The end of 2012 was full of activity for ARF.  While helmet safety has always been a priority for ARF the awareness after the injury to Brett Banasiewicz was at an all time high.


ARF worked diligently to create some positive changes by working with the biggest event organizers to change the rules regarding what types of helmets would be allowed in competition.  Certified helmets for bike use would now have to be used and non certified helmets like the ones wonk by Adam Taylor, Van Homan, TJ Lavin and Brett Banasiewicz would no longer be allowed.


ARF is working with helmet manufactures with goals to meet with ASTM (Helmet Cetification Company) to create better fitting helmets specifically built for BMX and Skate Freestyle competition.  We are very proud of the awareness that our efforts have created.  There is no doubt we will prevent future Traumatic Brain Injuries in action sports.


ARF is quickly approaching it’s 5 Year Anniversary!  We hope that you will help celebrate with us and support the nonprofit with donations and cause marketing activations that will contribute to the mission statement.  ARF has accomplished never before seen support and staying power.  We look forward to new goals and benefits to athletes in action sports.  Your support is key to this effort.  Thank you and read below for some exciting information on how and what we have been up to most recently.




Aaron Cooke

Executive Director

Athlete Recovery Fund

[email protected]


Thank You!

Unfortunately nobody really knows how important ARF is until they need it.  For those that have received grants from ARF reactions are sometimes shock that there is actually a support system that really works.  For others it’s a life changing opportunity to receive the care they need to get back to their sport.  In extreme cases ARF can be the difference between life and death.

Brett Banasiewicz is a professional BMX rider who opted to donate to ARF through his prize purse money several times but his family never knew that one day it would come back to him many times over.

Within minutes of Brett’s injury ARF was already set into motion.  Our first step was to contact his parents offering to cover the costs of transportation to be with Brett.  Next ARF arranged and paid for an extended stay residence for his dad so he could be as near to Brett as possible while still having some of the comforts from home.

While Brett was in a coma ARF began to research his insurance plan.  It was found that the policy he had would drastically fall short of the care he would be needing and with our insurance professionals we got Brett approved for a new policy that would save his family hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After Brett had improved enough to be transferred from ICU in Norfolk ARF worked off referrals from our relationship with the Chris and Dana Reeve’s Foundation to find the best hospital in the United States for Traumatic Brain Injury.  It was determined that Shepards Hospital in Atlanta Georgia was the best place for him and ARF spent countless hours getting Brett admitted.  This was extremely difficult as Brett’s new insurance was not yet activated and his current policy denied coverage for him to go to Shepards.  ARF negotiated admitting him as a cash patient at a discounted rate of $4,400 a day and used the Medjet membership to transport Brett on a private jet accompanied by a nurse.  The Medjet membership saved Brett’s family over $15,000 alone.

ARF knew the costs of what was to come even before all this and thankfully his new insurance policy became effective the day he was admitted to Shepards.  ARF worked diligently with industry brands, Brett’s management and sponsors to see what could be done to support the financial needs for Brett’s recovery.  ARF created and managed fundraising opportunities totaling over $80,000 including the production and shipping of the now famous #MADDOG shirt which has sold over 400 units with all proceeds going to Brett’s family.

To this day ARF is contributing towards Brett’s recovery and rehabilitation.  Through this process Brett’s family has had several doors slammed in their face by hospitals, insurance companies, case workers and more medical industry professionals and ARF has been there every step of the way to make sure they got fair treatment.  It has been a journey that neither of us will soon forget.

Another big effort made by ARF this year was to support the medical services provided at live events.  ARF invested over $20,000 in event medical staff supporting the care of athletes at competition.  This includes having therapeutic services on site as well as professional staff who are familiar with our sports.  It’s a huge comfort to the athletes who compete to know the right people are there to care for them.

We know that others will need this level of support from ARF so we continue to look for donations from athletes, event organizers, brands in action sports, the public and more.  It’s an unfortunate side effect of our sports, but everyone knows “it’s not if but when”.

While we would rather be always out there fixing smaller accidents these traumatic injuries drain our reserves considerably.  We hope this helps you understand what ARF is able to do with our funds as it is so important to those in need.  ARF will always remain transparent in our business and we are honored to be the only nonprofit to help injured professionals in action sports that can say we have been going strong for five years now with all signs of getting stronger every day.