|Above, a bull rider at the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Rodeo three weeks ago. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Three weeks ago, I attended the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Rodeo. While walking to the arena, I saw parked a medical vehicle that was as big as a semi truck's trailer. There's a good reason why it was there.
A while ago, I was reading about Professional Bull Riders (PBR) leaving Las Vegas, Nevada next year for Fort Worth, Texas.
I did some Googling for more information and found that a young bull rider was killed in Fresno, California today when a bull stomped on his chest at a PBR event.
According to Yahoo Entertainment:
The life of professional bull rider Amadeu Campos Silva has tragically been cut short.
Andrew Giangola, a spokesperson for Professional Bull Riders (PBR), confirmed the sad news of the 22-year-old's passing in a statement to E! News.
"On Sunday, bull rider Amadeu Campos Silva was involved in a bull riding accident at the Velocity Tour event in Fresno, Calif. He was transported to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where he passed away Sunday afternoon."
"After losing his balance on the bull, Classic Man," Giangola explained of his death, "Amadeu's spur got caught in the flank rope. He was caught under the bull, who stepped on his chest, and subsequently passed due to injuries suffered in this freak accident."
Looking further, I found that according to bull riding statistics:
At least 21 professional bull riders have died since 1989, with true numbers likely far higher as amateur bull riders are not included in these statistics.
While other sports are taking steps for the safety of athletes, bull riding is one sport that stands out as one of the most dangerous.
According to Gen Medium:
Football dominates the discussion of the dangers of sports, but every sport is working to become safer. Baseball players have started wearing a plastic glove to protect their hands when they slide into the base. This season, the NHL began stricter enforcement of the slashing penalty to prevent hand injuries; the league also cycles hundreds of thousands of dollars gathered from suspension penalties each year into an emergency fund for players.
But amid this concerted national rush to protect athletes, one sport stands out: bull riding. A bull rider is 10 times more likely to be seriously injured than a football player. One reason is obvious: 2,000-pound bulls have zero interest in injury prevention. Being stepped on by a bull can kill a man, and has. Getting hit with a bull’s horn can fracture 33 facial bones, as it did with a rider named Chase Outlaw this past July. And the bulls are only getting stronger.
Over the past 22 years, the PBR has introduced protective vests and now requires helmets for riders born after 1994. But even those mild safety requirements do not extend to riders outside of PBR arenas, and bull riders are suffering the consequences, with hundreds of accidents recorded just this year alone. There is no comprehensive data on riders injured, and many riders do not even receive treatment for their injuries.
Bull riding is one of the fastest-growing sports in United States — this season alone, more than 19 million people have watched the PBR on CBS — and when you watch it on TV or in the arena, it’s clear that no one wants the sport to be any safer. The danger, the potential for the bull to win in the most grotesque way possible, is part of the appeal. Still, even bull riding is beginning to take part in the national campaign to make every sport safer. It’s unclear, though, how safe it can ever really be.
As I mentioned, three weeks ago, I attended the Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Rodeo. Part of the rodeo was the bull riding competition. It was exciting to watch, but it is definitely a dangerous sport. In a split second, triumph can (and sometimes does) turn to tragedy.
Dangerous as it is, bull riding is very popular here in New Mexico. The Wild Thing bull riding event that is held annually in Gallup, New Mexico was sold out this year.