Just shy of two weeks after being admitted to the Wyoming Medical Center’s ER without a pulse, rodeo bull rider Bradie Gray walked away from the intensive care unit and into his new room in the surgical center.
Surviving the crushing blow of Levi the Boss’ hind legs after being thrown during the Thursday, June 15 performance of the CNFR is impressive enough. More impressive is his rate of recovery.
“He’s been asking the nurse three or four times a day, can he get up for a walk”, said his father Mick Gray. “Even two o’clock in the morning he’s asked to go for a walk”, adds his mother Sharon Gray. He’s grown tired of hospital food and requests outside meals. Pizza last night, a chicken burrito from Chipotle today.
Article continues below...
Bradie Gray, an Australian native competing with Odessa College, is the fourth generation of rodeo competitors in his family. His father Mick represented Australia in the North America Rodeo Commission in the past, and was Australian champion in 1991. Mick is well aware of the sport’s risks. Bradie had his jaw and back broken in the past. This time was different.
“We knew (the bull) stepped on him, but from where we were sitting we couldn’t really see exactly where”, said Mick. Mick and Sharon knew instantly things were serious when they got a wave from Bradie’s coach to head down. “I can’t even remember getting from the grandstand to the chutes”, said Mick. “We thought we’d lost him that night”.
Even while wearing a protective vest, Bradie still suffered broken ribs, a bruised aorta and collapsed lungs. He was put on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma.
“When he came in (to the ER), he had no heartbeat. No pulse. It was pretty scary”, said Mick. The wait was excruciating, including the several hours after emergency surgery before doctors were confident that he’d survive. “Every day he’s made progress”, said Sharon.
While his family and teammates waited and worried, Bradie remembers almost nothing from his night. “I remember getting on the bull and it stepping on me…that’s all I remember”, said Bradie. “As soon as I woke up, I knew it was serious”, he continues. When he did come to, he was surrounded by the people who never left his side. “Everyone was here. Almost brought tears to my eyes”, said Bradie.
Bradie hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for rodeo. Far from it. “I’m always watching videos”, said Bradie, who can talk but still loses his breath quickly. He’s on track for a complete recovery, and also thinking of his next bull ride. “Play it day by day, whenever I’m good enough is the day it’ll be”.
“He puts his mind to it, he’s dedicated”, said Sharon. “Whatever he wants to do, we’ll back him”, adds Mick.
The family says it’ll be at least two weeks before he’s ready to travel. That’s when they’ll make the slow journey back to Bradie’s home base in Odessa, Tex. Then another two weeks after that and he’ll be able to fly.
For now, the family is based in a nearby hotel paid for by Bradie’s college. Food and gift cards from the Casper community continue to pour in. “It’s been unbelievable, all the people offering their houses, dropping off food and vouchers”, said Mick.