Safety concerns and lawsuits over brain trauma in football players of all ages have recently made headlines. Because of this, New Mexico State University (NMSU) began collecting information regarding football player concussions three years ago. Now, a professor from the university’s Department of Human Performance, Dance and Recreation is collecting similar data on rodeo athletes. According to Mikaela Boham, Director of NMSU’s Athletic Training Education Program, rodeo participants in rough stock events such as bull, saddle bronco, and bareback riding are vulnerable to brain injury and trauma. She believes the extreme whipping motion endured by rodeo athletes as they ride animals during rough stock events is traumatic on the body and increases a participant’s risk of concussion.
Boham reportedly began collecting impact data on NMSU rodeo participants in 2011 after she realized no previous long-term rodeo safety studies existed. Since then, she has used cognitive tests to collect baseline impact information on 75 rodeo athletes at NMSU. According to Boham, about 75 percent of the riders examined have described symptoms associated with a concussion such as mental fogginess and difficulty sleeping. She said baseline measures are necessary in order to fully assess the impact rodeo participation may have on an individual’s cognitive skills. Although at this time Bohman’s research is only designed to track the cognitive function of rodeo athletes for a period of four years, she hopes to have the ability to follow some participants for 10 to 15 years.
Professor Boham believes her NMSU rodeo athlete study is important because rodeo participants at the school normally major in a wide variety of programs. She believes it is essential to ensure students do not suffer from long-term cognitive impairment as a result of their rodeo participation and are able to follow any career path they may choose. Unfortunately, a traumatic brain injury often makes many aspects of life more difficult. In the future, Bohman hopes her research will be used to create better safety equipment such as helmets and neck rolls for rodeo participants.
Any brain injury can be devastating and should always be taken seriously. In addition to sports such as rodeo events or football games, traumatic brain injuries are often caused by bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian, or car accidents. Brain trauma can cause headaches, dizziness, confusion, double vision, and mood swings. Serious head injuries may result in seizures, slurred speech, a loss of smell and taste, poor coordination, and difficulty managing finances. The victim of a traumatic brain injury caused by someone else may be able to recover compensation for pain, suffering, disability, lost earning capacity, medical expenses, and other damages. If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is a good idea to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
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