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Rodeo: The medical help that keeps cowboys in the saddle

Injuries can be like a car crash
Posted at 7:27 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-21 21:27:05-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Life in the rodeo can be a rough ride—full of danger and injuries. But rodeo has specialized trainers who are prepared to treat injuries and take steps to keep them from happening.

An average rodeo bull is an animal athlete determined to use about 1,500 pounds of beefy muscle to get that pesky cowboy off his back.

Athletic trainer Jenny Wyly says, “It's car accident type forces. But for the emergency medical crew that's helping us here at the rodeo. They're actually witnessing the car accident versus getting the phone call and saying, Hey, can you come we just had we just had an accident. “

Wyly usually works with athletes hit with much less weight; maybe from a relatively light 300 pound football player.

“I am an athletic trainer, a physical therapist and I work in traditional sports at the University of Arizona and our program, the Justin Sports Medicine Program relies on local volunteers.”

She works to patch up injured cowboys and cowgirls. She demonstrated how she might tape up a competitor to reduce the chance of getting hurt.

Wyly loves the way rodeo combines a friendly, open culture with a toughness that exceeds other tough sports.

“We'll see athletes here that will get on with fractures, because they're private contractors, so they're allowed to do that. So if I had a foot fracture on a football player at the U of A, we would tell them, ‘Hey, you're not going if we have a foot fracture here,’ and a contestant decides to get on they're going to get on and we're going to give them the best advice and take them and pad them as best we can.”

Through the Justin Sports Medicine program she may work around her UA job to travel to seven to 12 rodeos a year, taking in that rodeo culture and making sure cowboys can get back up for that next ride.