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Analysis of 10 Years of Injury in High School Rodeo

Sinclair, Amanda J EdD, ATC; Smidt, Chad MA, ATC

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: September 2009 - Volume 19 - Issue 5 - p 383-387
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181b625e4
Original Research

Objective: To determine the injury rate of athletes participating in high school rodeo.

Design: Retrospective report review.

Setting: National High School rodeo finals from 1996 to 2005.

Participants: High school athletes qualified for the rodeo competitions through state or national qualifying rounds.

Assessment of Risk Factors: Injury reports were documented by sports medicine personnel. Variables evaluated were injury density, frequency for mechanism of injury, injury location, injury type, and follow-up request.

Results: A total of 354 injury incidents from 43,168 competitor exposures (CEs) resulted in a composite injury density of 8.20 per 1000 CE. Rough stock athletes accounted for 76.6% of all injuries. Bareback riders, followed by bull riders and saddle bronc riders, demonstrated injury densities of 31.9, 28.5, and 23.5 per 1000 CE, respectively. Most injuries (40.9%) were sustained while dismounting or being bucked off of the animal. Contusions, sprains, and strains were the most frequent injury types (27.4%, 18.6%, and 16.4%, respectively). The head and the shoulder (17.8% and 11.35%, respectively) were the most commonly injured body parts. An incidence density of 0.7 per 1000 CE was found for injury requiring transport by ambulance.

Conclusions: High school rodeo athletes sustain similar injuries to collegiate and professional rodeo athletes, indicating that addressing issues at the youth level may be of great benefit. To better provide prevention tools for rodeo athletes, mechanism of injury and methods to reduce buck-off need further inquiry.

From the *Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri; and †Rodeo Program, Orthopaedic Center of the Rockies, Fort Collins, Colorado.

Submitted for publication December 18, 2008; accepted July 3, 2009.

Reprints: Amanda Sinclair, EdD, ATC, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 (e-mail:

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