Almost every sport or activity played at any level has been hit by the concussion crisis, from football to paintball and from soccer to wrestling. The rodeo is among the least-discussed victims, but it was thrust into the spotlight recently when a veteran bareback bronc rider retired. Regarded as one of the best in the world and with multiple championships under his belt, Clint Cannon is walking away from his career after a severe concussion.
It wasn’t his first. In fact, in his 14 years as a rider, his concussion count has reached double digits. But after his most recent one in 2015, he announced that 2017 would be his last year competing.
Considering the brutal nature of bronc riding (wherein being thrown off a bucking horse is an everyday occurrence), it’s little wonder that its participants suffer so much injury, and it’s hard to imagine a way it can be made safer.
But with such head injury numbers, it’s clear that the matter deserves thought and action from organizers and riders alike. Cannon’s example will hopefully motivate his peers to consider their own health and the cost that ignoring head injuries could have for their futures.
*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.