Josh Brooks, a 19-year-old with a bright future ahead of him, nearly lost it all while riding rough stock at the Carbondale Wild West Rodeo on June 27.
The bull, Golden Bear, that Brooks had drawn, wasn’t going along with the rider’s hope for an eight-second time and a winning score.
The rodeo chute swung open into the arena. Bull and rider leaped out, high in the air. Despite Brooks’ skill and strong will, He was thrown off and stomped on.
Brooks explains,” I was trained that if you go off the bull, you need to get up quickly and run out of the arena.”
“I knew immediately something was terribly wrong; I had trouble breathing, and blood was everywhere,” Brooks recalls. “The pain was excruciating.”
The accident caused internal bleeding with a stage three out of five laceration to his liver and a partially collapsed lung. The ambulance rushed him to Valley View Medical Center where he had three blood transfusions for severe hypotension with a blood pressure of 50/30 and had a reaction to the third transfusion.
Luckily for Brooks, who had left his protective gear at home, another bull rider, Zachary Jammaron, lent him his protective equipment, including a helmet and bull riding vest, which possibly saved Josh’s life.
Doctors thought he might need surgery and as such, flight for life was activated and Brooks was transported to St Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction, a certified Colorado trauma facility. Physicians treated his internal injuries and lacerations. Brooks spent four days in the hospital.
President of the Carbondale Rodeo Michael Kennedy said, “We are all so glad Brooks will be okay. You never want something like this to happen.”
Doctors say that he will not have any permanent damage from the accident. However, for the next three months, Brooks is unable to be involved in any physical activities, as the slightest injury or impact can cause the liver to bleed again and could be deadly. That means he cannot work.
Now recovering at his mother’s home in Glenwood Springs, Brooks “is so grateful for all of the help and support of my family and friends.” With nearly $100,000 in medical bills, they set up two fundraising sites with a $20,000 goal: gofundme.com/f/bullriderwithoutinsurance and facebook.com/donate/908863976114510.
Friends like Andrew Garcia donated because “Josh’s brother was my best friend at one point. But, more than that, Josh is an awesome human being. The kid has a bright future, and he deserves all the support we can muster.”
Another donor, Yesi Gomez, didn’t know Brooks but felt “that he was a young kid who needed help. I was taught that if someone needs support, and you’re in a position to provide it, you should.”
Brooks is a recent graduate of Coal Ridge High School, having grown up in Silt and Glenwood.
Brooks explains, “I have worked since I was 14 years old. I volunteer and help my mom with pet sitting. I’ve volunteered for the police department, helping them do a taser demonstration (being on the receiving end of the taser).”
As for the future, it may or may not include bull riding. “I just want to stay involved in the rodeo world but perhaps in another event. Also, Brooks notes, “I would like to work in law enforcement in this part of Colorado. I would first attend the police academy in Spring Valley.”
His future looks bright indeed.