I agree - Go for the safe bet. Sometimes, a BIOS flash goes horribly wrong and the flash utility will no longer be able to even see the card is present in the system afterward. Such cards are totally bricked, but should make for nice paperweights.
It's not hard to find downloadable VGA BIOS for cards. (Techpowerup.com has many VGA BIOS versions available for various makes/models.) Odds are he's looked for help with the situation wherever he got his advice or information on how to do it. So if he was never able to get it working again, it's quite possible that card is totally bricked. It's not worth the risk.
But, if you wish to investigate it further, asking him if ATIFlash can even see the card when the "atiflash -i" command is used. If not, it's a goner.