Andrews is working with doctors from NASA to use an accelerometer to measure the amount of G-force experienced by bareback and bull riders.
I got into rodeo after I came to Texas with the New York Islanders hockey team. I needed an orthopedic surgeon to look at our players and I had a friend who was the team physician with the Dallas Cowboys, so I asked him to see our hockey players. Then he asked me one summer to help him with a rodeo. That was my first experience, about 30 years ago.
Rodeo cowboys don't like doctors because if you don't play, you don't get paid, so they're highly motivated to play. A lot of times against medical judgment. Hockey players are tough, but nobody's tougher -- football or hockey -- they're not tougher than rodeo cowboys.
The worst injuries are the fatalities. The basics are contact-sport injuries, but instead of a 280-pound linebacker, we're talking about an 1,100-pound horse or 2,000-pound bull. If you watch, you'll see so many near-misses of getting stepped on the side of the head. I think we're lucky that we haven't had more, considering the risk and exposure. I'm not real sure why they do it, but they'll always do it.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
G-forces on a bull rider compare to astronauts, fighter pilots and acrobat-type pilots, upside-down and back-loops and all that. I don't think we're going to see anything like the load to the head we see in rodeo. We've already measured a bareback rider at 64 g's. Most people can't handle 2, 3 or 4 g's.