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Behind the scenes of CNFR with rodeo sports medicine

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:36 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Rodeo is just like any other sport in the fact that injuries can occur at anytime during an event. One difference though is the severity of the injuries that rodeo athletes can face. This is because in most sports you may be playing against another person or get hit with a ball. In rodeo the danger come from the unpredictable nature of animals weighing over a thousand pounds.

“With rodeo we see a lot of the similar injuries that we do with a lot of other contact and collision sports. A lot of sprains, strains, contusions, fractures, we see a lot of that. The big difference with rodeo is the severity of that,” said Chad Smidt, who is a certified athletic trainer with Orthopedic and Spine Center of the Rockies.

Chad has spent 30 years working with rodeos as a medical professional and he said that one thin he’s noticed over time is the way that athletes care for their bodies. “They treat their bodies more like typical athletes would right now, so they’re staying fit, they’re doing the right things cause they know if they want to move on in their career staying fit and doing the right things will help them have a longer career.”

Along with the proper exercise and diet, athletes are also helped out by medical personnel before rides and events by having their wrists, biceps, and any other appendage taped up that could be injured or strained. This may differ though for athletes that participate in different events.

Chad said, “Each event has its own kind of particular injuries that we see. Steer wrestlers, typically you’ll see some peck ruptures. We don’t see any peck ruptures in our bronc riders, we don’t see it in our bareback riders. You just don’t see it.”

Even with the different treatments for different athletes the CNFR medical personnel also works with staff at the event. This can include anyone from coaches to those who handle livestock and open gates during bull riding, bareback, or calf events.

“There’s lots of different ways to get hurt around the rodeo grounds and you can see it where you wouldn’t even expect it so we treat not only the competitors here at the CNFR but coaches and people behind the scenes that are helping make the production go off,” said Chad.

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