COLORADO SPRINGS — How many of you have been injured?
All hands are raised from a group of a half dozen cowboys prepping for the bareback event at the NFR Open/Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs.
All hands raise again when asked, how many of you have continued competing while injured?
Rodeo riders get hurt and they still ride.
“It's just an athlete mindset,” said Justin Sports Medicine Program Manager, Mandi Elder, “And when you consider a cowboy as an athlete, we tend to see the same type of psychological profile.”
There is also the reality that pro rodeo riders do not have contracts like other sports where you get paid whether in the game or on the sideline.
Elder said, “There's not that luxury in this sport, because they're paying to compete. And if they don't win money, they don't get to keep going.“
In the timed events where cowboys jump from a moving horse, knee and hip injuries are a threat.
Data backs what you would expect from watching bucking events—more injuries happen.
Common are head injuries, elbows, shoulders, and all kinds of cuts and scrapes.
“Surprisingly, fractures and dislocations aren't the most common injuries that we have but a lot of sprains and strains,” said Elder.
There are also efforts to get pro rodeo athletes to adopt training plans more like other pro athletes.
“The better shape you are in going into that arena, the better you're going to be coming out of that arena,” said Elder, “If you do get injured, you're going to recover from that injury much more quickly.”
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