Brett Greenwood Foundation
In Support of Brett Greenwood

May
15

It is with great excitement that we announce, the Second Annual Run3for30 5k Trail Run/Walk has been scheduled!

As Brett continues down this long road of recovery, he is very excited and grateful that this event will be taking place again this year. It’s a little to soon for him to run, but he continues to work towards walking without assistance and is improving every day. You could say he is running his own race and doing it very, very well.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 14, 2014. The race will be at Crow Creek Park in Bettendorf, IA. The setup and location will be the same, but this year the race will include a half mile kids run!IMG_0069_2

“There were so many positive comments regarding last years race, and we had a lot of people tell us they hoped this would turn into an annual race. The turnout and support last year, despite the rainy weather, was amazing and we hope the addition of the kids race will allow this to become more of a family event,” said Lindsey Brezenski, race organizer and Brett’s sister.

While the signup fee for Run3for30 will cover the cost of the race, any additional donations go towards the Brett Greenwood Foundation. Learn more about the foundation and the Run3for30 race here.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the course and having a successful Second Annual Run3for30!

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Sep
15

Thank you to everyone that came out today to participate in the Run3for30! The rain couldn’t keep away the happy smiles and good friends.

Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support and the continued support of Brett and his recovery. Be sure to check the Run 3 for 30 Facebook page for the final race results! Below are some photos from today.

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Jul
08

Fourth of July has always been Brett’s favorite holiday, and this past weekend we were able to watch fireworks and make it to the parade for the first time in two years! It was a great weekend of fireworks and family time!

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Brett and Dave on the way to the parade!

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The gator made for easy access to and from the parade!

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Steele was sporting her flag bandanna for the Fourth!

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Ended the night out on the deck watching fireworks!

Apr
19

On March 29th, the American Heart Association of Johnson County honored Brett with the Hawkeye Heart Hero Award at their annual Heart Gala held at Kinnick Stadium. While Brett was not able to attend the Heart Gala, Pat Angerer graciously stepped up and spoke on Brett’s behalf. This is the text of his speech:

“Just want to start off by saying that this truly is a wonderful event and a lot of great things come out of this gala. The American Heart Association, each year, gives Millions in research funding in Johnson County.  Last year alone, they gave $3.2 Million.  It is research like that that has enabled Brett to receive the very best treatment (from the training of doctors and nurses, to treatments, to rehabilitation).  They are also aggressively focusing their efforts on diagnosis of heart defects in newborns…something that may have an effect on the young people that are dying on the field/court, etc. from undiagnosed heart defects.   Every penny raised in Johnson County, stays in Johnson County.

Brett’s Story: Brett had been home in Bettendorf training at Pleasant Valley HS since he was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers after making it through to the final cuts.  Brett never really wanting attention would always workout at Pleasant Valley at 9 o’clock at night when nobody was around. Brett was asked to speak to the Pleasant Valley football team for their home opener so he decided to head in earlier on September 9th 2011.  This was when Brett suffered from a heart arrhythmia that caused his heart to speed up and then stop.  Fortunately, trainers and football staff were around and were able to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) to essentially save his life. If that wasn’t at the high school Brett probably wouldn’t be alive today.  Brett then was transferred to a local hospital and finally to Iowa City where he lay in a coma for 27 days.

In Brett fashion, when he came out of the coma he greeted the nurse with a, “good morning.” But it was still an uphill battle.  Due to Brett’s heart stopping for so long he suffered from oxygen deprivation to his brain, which can cause loss of motor skills, cognitive, behavioral and personality changes. And his vision and speech suffered as well.  This was the start of the uphill battle that Brett attacked just like he attacked everything in life. He was moved to “On with Life”, in Ankeny, IA , a rehabilitation center for people with similar brain injuries.  He continued to get better and was moved to NeuroRestorative, in Carbondale, IL, where he continued his treatment and continued his fight to normalcy.  He improved greatly and honorable fighting the whole way and I’m sure swearing at the nurses and whoever would listen at times.  He was in a fight and he knew it. He battled all of that and improved, now he does out-patient rehab at Genesis in Bettendorf, where he works and works for hours a day.  Getting a little better everyday, chipping at the rock just like I had the pleasure to witness for four years at the University of Iowa. Talking to his father last night and Christina and they kept reiterating how far he has come.  I’m sure it hasn’t been the easiest thing for them to deal with and go through but their strengths rely in each other and I know the reason why Brett has been doing so well and accomplishing so much everyday is because he has the best family and support system a person could ask for.

I got the privilege to see Brett last night for the first time since the incident took place 18 months ago.  I couldn’t help but leave motivated and lifted up.  The brightness and strength he brings is unmatched in any man.  Obviously, there is still work to be done.  His short-term memory is still in need of work but the old squirrelly laughing Brett who used to prank people in the locker room and get them destroying each other’s things for weeks before they realized it was him all along laughing the whole way, IS STILL THERE.  The same determined Brett who walked on at the University of Iowa became a four year starter, worked his way on scholarship, was honored with countless awards and all big ten mentions, made sure me and Edds’ dumbasses were lined up correctly and were in the right coverage every play, was the heart, soul and leader of the 2010 Orange Bowl champion defense, battled his way to the final cuts of the Pittsburgh Steelers in his rookie season, IS STILL THERE.  The same flawless man with a big heart who I emulated when I needed to make changes in my personal and athletic life, the man I want my son to grow and be and the man I would be proud if my daughter married, IS STILL THERE.  The man who battled out of a coma, got to his feet, walked out the damn rehab place into his house, smiling and fighting the whole way, the man who continues to work his way to perfection IS STILL THERE.

In modest Brett fashion when he was told he was getting honored tonight he asked, “Why?”. The same Brett who has no clue how truly bad ass and inspirational he is to so many people IS STILL THERE and will always be the most flawless man I know.

It has been a long road for Brett and his family and Brett has come a long way and improved tremendously.  I know they appreciate all of the support and well wishes.

I have received a lot of honors and awards in my day playing football, and speaking on behalf of Brett is by far the highest honor I have received.  I’m grateful for the Greenwood family and to Christina for allowing me and trusting me enough to speak about Brett; he is one of the best men I know.  Thank you all.”

Brett’s story could not have been told any better than how Pat described this journey. While Brett continues to improve, there are still many unknowns ahead of us all, but like Pat said, ‘the man who continues to work his way to perfection is still there’. Thank you everyone for the continued support of Brett and the family. I know Brett is humble and doesn’t really believe he is an inspiration to be honored here, but he also recognizes the value and importance of the American Heart Association and the work they do in Johnson County.  And in time, Brett will join us at events like this.

Go Hawks!

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Pat Angerer speaking on behalf of Brett at the American Heart Association Hawkeye Heart Hero banquet

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Guests at the American Heart Association Hawkeye Heart Hero banquet

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A few former Hawkeye teammates, Coach Phil Parker, Coach Chris Doyle and members of the Greenwood family after the banquet

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A ‘Thank You’ courtesy of Molly’s Cupcakes in Iowa City

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Brett reading the Hawkeye Heart Hero award

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The Hawkeye Heart Hero award

Mar
02

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Early bird registration is now open for Run3for30, an event designed to raise awareness for brain injuries and the rehabilitation process in honor of Brett Greenwood.

Run3for30 will be held on September 15, nearly two years since Brett collapsed from an abnormal heart rhythm during a routine workout, which caused his heart to stop and result in an anoxic brain injury. Brett has made great strides in his recovery and we’ve all learned much about what it means to simply survive a brain injury, something that 95,000 Iowans are currently living with today – visit the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa to learn more.  The rehabilitation process requires tremendous support, perseverance and patience. Luckily Brett is surrounded by a strong network of health care professionals, family, friends and people who simply remember watching him compete at Kinnick Stadium. That outpouring of support for Brett truly has made a difference in his recovery.

We know people want to see Brett and hear from him, to show their love and support. Right now, giving Brett the opportunity to concentrate on his own body and daily therapy, as he works toward the next stage in the recovery process has been the one and only goal.

Run3for30 is the brainstorm of Lindsey Brezenski, Brett’s sister and an avid runner, and is designed as a Trail Run and Walk. You don’t have to be a runner to participate. It will be held at Crow Creek Cross Country Course in Bettendorf, Iowa.

The course is full of scenic trees and landscape. The first mile is all grass winding through the west and north ends of the park. The 2nd mile is mainly run on a crushed limestone path through the woods on the eastern part of Crow Creek Park. The 3rd mile is a challenging finish back on grass beginning with a nice downhill to get momentum built for the final 1/2 mile that includes 2 challenging hills. After climbing the final hill it is about .1 mile to the finish across the flat open field near the start of the race.

Thank you to the many volunteers who have already donated their time and energy to Run3for30. The early bird registration fee is $27.00 and will cover the entry fee, chip-timed race, t-shirt, green wristband and food/beverages after the run.

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Click here to get signed up for Run3for30

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Join us on the Run3for30 Facebook event page

If you are not able to participate in the race but would like to donate please visit the Brett Greenwood Foundation website.

Get ready to race, run or walk in September!

Feb
15

Today marks just under a year and a half since Brett suffered an anoxic brain injury, and he is continuing to recover and show improvement. Currently he works mainly on short term memory and fine motor skills, all while improving his vision.

When the doctors first read Brett’s brain scans, they were concerned with the amount of damage to his vision center of his brain – but true to form, Brett continues to improve and impress the Neuro ophthalmologists. He spends about six hours in therapy and shows great improvement, but the most impressive indicators are those that happen during the downtime after therapy when he is doing every day tasks. It used to be that people would walk in the room and Brett would identify their voice before recognizing their face, but that rarely happens now as his vision has greatly improved.

Another significant piece of Brett’s recovery is the advancement in his short-term memory. Each day gets a little better. But similar to the changes in his vision, Brett surprises us by recalling special memories. We spend a lot of time scrolling through the iPad looking at photos of the past few years, and remembering things we did, places we’ve been and special friends.

It’s hard to put into words all the changes Brett has gone through. True, he has suffered a significant injury, and yet he’s still the same witty guy he has always been. Sometimes the progress seems vague and the time seems to drag on, but today on February 14th, 2013, Brett is considerably ahead of where he was seventeen months ago and we celebrate each step in his progress.

Happy Valentine’s Day – with love

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Sep
08

A new season of college football kicked off last weekend. Two new presidential candidates were officially announced this week. And the upcoming weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Brett’s injury – another beginning in the series.

We’ve learned that recovery takes time, more time and more patience than we could ever imagine. The complexity of a brain injury is overwhelming.

Not surprisingly, Brett is focused. Today he is focused on what needs to happen to get home. Among the many reasons he wants to come home is to be back with his Hawkeye family.

When Brett collapsed last year, the Hawks were preparing to play Iowa State the next day. The weather was gorgeous, the rivalry was fuming and people were ready to play some football. And in the midst of it all, Coach Ferentz sent John Streif back to Iowa City with the strength and hope of the entire Football team, to support Brett in those first few hours of his injury.

This year, Brett lends his strength and support to the Hawks as they prepare for their home opener.

Go Brett and Go Hawks!

Jun
29

July 9th marks 10 months since Brett’s injury. When Brett collapsed on September 9th, no one knew what to expect – for his health, recovery time…for anything. The doctors tried to set up a few scenarios, only sharing indefinite and vague potential outcomes for Brett’s prognosis.

Ten months later, and to no one’s surprise, Brett is amazing the doctors and therapists, and surpassing everything they throw at him. Brett has done more work in these last ten months than anyone can possibly imagine – and doing it all with the grace and determination that he has always shown on and off the field.

While his schedule varies from day-to-day, Mondays thru Fridays are filled with therapy sessions and rehab to help Brett in every way possible. He is busy with physical therapy – primarily focusing on balance and strength, and always working hard to improve his walking.

The Occupational Therapists assist Brett in everyday activities, and lately focusing especially on his vision – which has come back stronger and more consistent every day! In speech therapy, Brett works on memory and word association – quizzing him to remember series of words and numbers, adding and subtracting randomly throughout a sequence. And with an ever so slight bit of sarcasm, Brett goes at such a rapid rate it causes the therapists to have to stop and double check their own math.

The weekends consist of hanging out with family and of course Steele Magnolia – who he loves immensely. Napping, eating and cruising around in the car are usually the big events for the weekend, as rest is critically important to Brett’s recovery.

While people have suffered brain injuries forever, our knowledge and understanding is constantly evolving.

We know that our brains are all different and that no two people respond in the same way – making an exact diagnosis or prognosis nearly impossible.

There is no exact science to Brett’s recovery, no timeline and mostly unknowns for the future – but one thing we do know is to never count Brett out. He has come further in the last ten months than they ever thought he would, and there is nothing but pure excitement and encouragement for how much more he can continue to improve.

We thank everyone for the support and prayers. Brett is strong, but could not have come this far without the love and support from everyone. We also want to thank you all for respecting Brett and his privacy, and our wish is to continue to allow Brett time to recover at his own pace. When he is ready, he will reach out and speak about his journey – but at this time he is focused on furthering his recovery.

Apr
13

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Steele Magnolia, a 12.6 pound pure black lab puppy, has been a long time coming—three years as a matter of fact. Brett and I began the puppy fund from some leftover pennies found in Brett’s car. The puppy fund was created out of mere principle—I was not going to throw away seven pennies.

Three years later, the puppy fund change was turned in to the bank for a total of $558.84.

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Before Brett’s injury, the puppy fund was just a fun thing Brett and I did together. There was nothing pressing about saving for a puppy, we weren’t planning on getting one for a long time. However, once Brett had his injury, the puppy fund took on a life of it’s own.

The days in the hospital are all a little blurry, but at one point both dads reached in their pockets and pulled out change – it was the first outside donation to the puppy fund. People who were visiting started asking about the fund. Next came a humble Styrofoam cup scribbled with the words “puppy fund” that sat among the Hawkeye and Steelers memorabilia on Brett’s shelf. And that’s when the dramatic growth of the puppy fund happened – even Coach Ferentz and Brett’s world renowned Neurologist, Dr. Adams, pulled out some change for the puppy fund.

Once Brett left the hospital and moved to On With Life the puppy fund grew more— one night he even asked a CNA for some change! Brett said as he held out the blue piggy bank, “we accept donations,” very sure she would willingly donate—and she did. Later that evening more people walked through Brett’s room dropping change in the piggy bank.

It’s true, people really do love puppies.

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At the time, the donations seemed like a simple and kind gesture, but looking back—it was way more than that. People wanted to know what they could do to help. Flowers, cards and food were always around—but the puppy fund represented something else. It seemed to consistently bring a smile.

The puppy fund signified a future where Brett was healthy enough to enjoy the love and companionship of a puppy, and the joys of running alongside her and throwing the ball for endless hours of fetch. And now she’s here.

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Steele Magnolia is from the champion line of Briarwood Labradors just outside of Des Moines, IA. While Steele is only 11 weeks old, everyone has big plans for her future. She is incredibly smart and captures the hearts of everyone she meets—especially Brett!

It was love at first sight, for both of them.

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Feb
06

Beginning immediately following Brett’s injury, support came pouring in for him. Many people dropped off cards, flowers and cookies, while others showed their support at the Green-out game versus University of Louisiana-Monroe and by the many donations made each day to the Brett Greenwood Foundation.

One item that showed up a few weeks later was this framed flag and certificate from a Hawkeye soldier from Eastern Iowan.

The flag was flown in honor of Brett on “Green-Out” day over Afghanistan on a KC-10 “Extender” in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM on September 24, 2011.

The framed flag and certificate are accompanied by a small plaque reading, “Hawkeye Prayers Extend Across The World In Support Of Brett And His Family. This Flag Represents The U.S. Military’s Support And Was Flown By A Fellow Hawkeye on “Green-Out” Day.” – Lt. Col. Eric Clifton

This flag not only represents freedom and everything the U.S. Military and armed forces represent to Americans, but also the bond among Hawkeye Nation. It takes an incredible person to fight for our country, and while doing that reach out in support of Brett and his battle. While the two fights are hardly comparable to one another, the determination and desire to overcome are present in both situations.

Brett is fighting everyday to make positive steps forward. He continues to get better and beat the odds at every stage. We are so thankful for all the prayers. This framed flag and certificate now hang in Brett’s room to remind him that others are fighting too and are supporting him.

Thank you Lt. Col. Eric Clifton and all the armed forces of our country, for everything you do each day to allow Brett and his family the freedom to fight this battle he is in.