Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oh, the Things that We Learn in Times Like These

Sometimes it seems like Brian Canter just can't catch a break. His triumph at the Bass Pro Shows Shoot-out in Omaha last weekend, which was a long time coming and most definitely well deserved, has been somewhat overshadowed by the nasty pounding Brendon Clark took when Black Smoke threw him and then tried, and nearly succeeded, in stomping his guts out. I guess I'm at least as bad as everybody else on this score, because though I am genuinely happy that Canter is back in a big way, it's Clark's story that I've been following on the PBR website all week.

It looks now like Clark may be out of the Creighton University Hospital and on his way home to California by the end of this week. Doubtless he owes his rapid improvement to the bull fighters, who dashed in there to get the bull off him, to Tandy Freeman and his medical crew, who hustled in, assessed the situation, and got him out of the arena and to the hospital without delay, and to the doctors and nurses at Creighton, which also happens to be a first-rate trauma center. If there were ever a patient suffering from trauma, it has to have been Clark, who arrived at the ER with a lacerated liver, bruised lungs, and several broken ribs, spitting up blood and barely able to breathe. It also didn't hurt that Clark is in good physical shape--if he hadn't had such core body strength, his injuries might have been even more serious. Oh, and the vest. Never underestimate the protective qualities of the vest, which helped to spread the pressure from the bull's feet out over a wider area, just as a Kevlar vest simultaneously stops a bullet and spreads the impact out.

Still, I was interested to see that the "friend" who raced to Omaha when she got word of Clark's injury wasn't Anna Hunt, of bucking-bull-breeding fame, but one Allison Renz. Almost equally interesting is the fact that Ross Coleman called her with the news. This pretty much tells me that the "glamorous power couple," who were featured on 60 Minutes almost exactly two years ago, is a couple no more. I may be reading more into this than it deserves--I suppose Anna might be off at some bull breeder's convention in Kuala Lumpur and hasn't heard that her sweetie was mauled to within an inch of his life last Saturday night. But frankly, I doubt it.

All that remains for me to wonder at this point is whether Brendon Clark, who will be out of action for at least three months while he heals up, will follow the path of other badly injured PBR riders and drop off the face of the earth till he suddenly appears back on the BFTS circuit. Let me remind you that we never hear anything anymore about Lee Akin, who suffered a serious brain injury back in 2006, or about Paulo Crimber, who broke his neck last summer and pretty much hasn't been seen or heard from since. If I hadn't stumbled across that episode of CW's In Harm's Way last October, I most likely still wouldn't know that at that point, Paulo's doctors were giving him a less than 1 percent chance of ever riding a bull again.

In my most cynical minutes, I wonder whether this isn't deliberate--after all, it's a safe bet that nobody at PBR headquarters wants to keep reminding people how dangerous the sport is. In my slightly less cynical minutes, I suspect that it's a policy by neglect--the riders and the brass don't like to think about it, so they don't talk about it, and the fans are left to glean what little information they can from other sources.

All this flies in the face of the outpouring of support that Brendon Clark has gotten from the public and the riders. As Ross Coleman told him a day or so ago, “We’re brothers. That’s what we do for each other.” I don't doubt that's the case, but I do wish the PBR would update us more regularly about the status of those of our brothers who are out of our sight, but never out of our thoughts.

11 comments:

Shawk said...

There are occasional updates on Lee Aiken-- I believe there was an interview and a news clip a bit ago, and I seem to recall he was in the stands at an event. I feel like I heard something about Paolo Crimber considering returning to bull riding, even though obviously another injury could be his last. I don't think these were top-tier stories on the PBR website or anything, though.

According to someone on the TeamPBR boards, Anna and Brendon Clark have not been together for about a year.

Just here to bring you your dose of vaguely remembered things. ;)

Stockyard Queen said...

Considering how vaguely I remember things, any updates are welcomed with open arms, ma'am. Thanks!

Shawk said...

I managed to find the thing on Lee Akin:
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2009/jan/15/a-miracle-on-bull-riding-circuit/


And I don't think this is what I was remembering, but it might be of interest:
http://sports.espn.go.com/rodeo/news/story?id=3689281

I also think the event where Wiley Peterson randomly grabbed some popcorn from someone in the crowd-- the someone was Paulo Crimber.

I do wish there was a more central place to find out about the continuing status of injured bull-riders, but as you say, they probably don't want to focus on that.

shannon said...

What I've heard is that they only update us if there is something new to report. If not, they give the riders' their privacy while they are out.

Stockyard Queen said...

I don't think saying, "Lee Akin is improving" or "Kody Lostroh is having physical therapy" violates anybody's privacy.

Shawk said...

Especially as it seems like people are filtering down that kind of information through the Facebooks of wives and girlfriends...

I think the PBR hasn't quite decided how to deal with fan interest in riders after they are no longer riding.

shannon said...

"I don't think saying, "Lee Akin is improving" or "Kody Lostroh is having physical therapy" violates anybody's privacy."I couldn't agree more. What harm is a phone call every few months? I'm just reporting what I read somewhere. Anyway, I agree with S---they just aren't sure how to deal with the fans who want to know about riders that aren't riding anymore.

shelia said...

I remember seeing Lee at an event televised by ABC. He looked as if he'd gained 100 pounds!

And I remember reading somewhere that after Paulo's daughter was born last winter he had returned to Brazil.

I could be wrong on both accounts. Forgive me if I am.

But, to say that Brendon was hospitalized for "observation" when we all knew he was in ICU and probably on life support is a sham!

The PBR is protecting itself!

Stockyard Queen said...

Shannon, I have no doubt you're right about this being the "official" answer, but it still gravels me. It sounds like a sheepish attempt to make up for the fact that they don't want to talk about this stuff. So, as S. Hawk points out, we end up getting information from a bunch of other sources, because those sources want the information out there. Maybe I'm a hard***, but I'd just like 'em to man up and tell us what's going on from time to time, even if it doesn't amount to much.

Shawk said...

I seem to recall a long time ago that there was a place on the old PBR website with updates on Lee Akin. It seems like they could have a little area where "authenticated" people could post updates on injured riders, since it's obviously not a violation of privacy if they want to put the info out there.

Black Boots said...

Not sure about Akin, but I definitely remember a PBR press release about Crimber aiming for a comeback in 2010. Part of me wants to see him dance in the arena again, but I'd rather see him dance with his daugther at her wedding. (if the PBR would post a picture, meh.)