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Medics patch up the professionals during rodeo

Posted at 9:52 AM, Feb 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 20:12:51-05
For rodeo athletes, their jobs are some of the most dangerous sports in the world. But, that's what keeps thrill-seekers on the edge of their seats at the 91st La Fiesta De Los Vaqureos.
 
With more than 600 contestants hitting the arena over the course of the nine days at the rodeo grounds, there are bound to be some bumps along the way. 
 
But, there are medics and volunteers on-site who are trying to make sure every rider never misses a beat.
 
One of those people is Jenny Wyly. She's the program manager for Justin Sports Medicine Program, as well as a full-time employee at the University of Arizona. Wyly has been around a lot of injury, but she tells KGUN9, the events can be hard to watch. 
 
"There are times when you're watching them ride and you're flinching - thinking 'oh gosh,' Wyly laughed. "I'm actually surprised many times that how few injuries we see based on dangerous this really is."
 
Wyly says every injury has its own unique story. 
 
"It's actually one of the reasons I really enjoy working rodeo," Wyly explained. "It keeps my skills up because I see a little bit of everything and the rodeo athlete is a very unique because there's nobody that comes in here not wanting to get on." 
 
Contestants can actually hobble a few feet away from the holding area near the arena to the medical trailer. There - they can get free medical treatment for all of their injuries. 
 
One of those in need of help: contestant Casey Tew. His crutches carried him to see Wyly less than one hour before his team-roping competition. 
 
"I have a... severe sprain and a possible torn ligaments and a stress fracture," Wyly explained while his leg sat in a medical boot. 
 
Despite the pain... and the multiple colors his ankle is turning, Tew says - he will ride again. 
 
"It really is kind of the main way that I make money...I don't get to take sick days," Tew laughed. 
 
Medics, like Wyly, actually cannot tell athletes at the rodeo not to ride, no matter how severe their injury may be. That's because each participant is a private contractor. 
 
"These guys are all adults and they're... out there to make money," Wyly explained. "So, we give them the best advice we can, but we can't hold them."
 
So, Wyly has to patch them up and get them back to the arena, at least - until their next trip to the medic trailer.