The association of Professional Bull Riders made helmets mandatory in 2013, but only for riders born after 1994. Helmets can decrease a head injury’s severity, but can’t necessarily prevent a concussion from occurring. This rider, pictured at the 2018 Cloverdale Rodeo, wears a cowboy hat. (Samantha Anderson)

Educational videos for rodeo athletes address concussions, mental health

Ty Pozzobon Foundation, Canadian Pro Sports Medicine Team produce series

The Ty Pozzobon Foundation and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team (CPRSMT) have teamed up to launch a series of educational videos on issues of health and well-being within rodeo sport.

The first video of the multi-part series launched last Thursday (July 12), delving into the risks of concussions for rodeo athletes, and how the culture surrounding invisible injuries is shifting.

“Our sport has come a long ways,” says professional bull rider Scott Schiffner in the video. “Years ago, if it wasn’t broken or you weren’t bleeding — suck it up and carry on. And that’s a terrible mentality, but that’s what the mentality was.”

“We teamed up with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team to develop these educational videos to promote the health and well-being of our Western Sports athletes,” said Tanner Byrne, President of the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, in a press release. “We started with the first one, concussion awareness, what they are and how to deal with them and what the repercussions can be.”

The next video planned in the series will address mental health awareness.

“There is more coming on health and well-being,” Byrne added. “Proper diets, workout regimens, we don’t have coaches or trainers so we are all on our own. With these videos we hope to help our athletes.”

The videos are funded by the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, and produced by Mike Beeley. They include interviews with rodeo athletes, medical professionals and members of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team.

“The education piece is critical to the health and performance of the rodeo athlete,” said Brandon Thome, vice-president of CPRSMT. “We hope with the first two videos that the awareness of concussions and mental health will continue to be on the forefront with the current competitors as well the young kids starting out.”

“This first video, it’s really amazing after I got to watch it, it’s not only for the sentiment of what happened with Ty but what I feel like it’s going to do for everybody that watches it,” Byrne concluded. “There are a ton of people that really laid it out on the line, their stories are going to help move us forward in what we are trying to do.”

Ty Pozzobon was a professional bull rider from Merritt, B.C., who gained world recognition as one of the most accomplished rodeo competitors in Canada. He competed in rodeos across the country, including at Cloverdale Rodeo from 2011 to 2014, and qualified for the Professional Bull Rider World Finals four times.

In January 2017, he died by suicide at 25 years of age.

Pozzobon had suffered from depression, anxiety and the effects of a number of concussions he had sustained in recent years as a bull rider. After his death, his family donated his brain to traumatic brain injury research.

In October 2017, researchers at the University of Washington confirmed that he had the first confirmed case of a professional bull rider with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a disease known to affect boxers, football players, and other athletes who sustain numerous concussions.

In his memory, the Ty Pozzobon Foundation works with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team to promote the health and well-being of rodeo competitors.

The CPRSMT is a team of athletic therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists and sport medicine physicians is on hand before, during and after each rodeo event to provide care to the athletes, including concussion care.

To learn more about the foundation, visit typozzobon.com.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

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