Today, we watched a sad day in racing as Big Brown, in everyone's book slated to win the Belmont and therefore become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years, came up short in that bid. The bay stallion, having suffered a "quarter crack" in one of his forefeet since the Preakness, had been unable to train due to the crack, and it looked that, without having the chance to build up his stamina for the incredibly long Belmont, and given the 93 degree heat, the horse with the big heart wasn't going to fulfill his incredible promise.
Big Brown became the first horse ever to go into the Belmont having won the Preakness and Kentucky Derby to then come in last. His jockey wisely had pulled him up to save stress on the horse. I admired him for that.
Tonight, I watched my favorite sport, the Professional BullRiders' tour from Orlando. One of my favorite riders is Brazilian Paulo Crimber. And no, it's not because he has the same first name as my neurosurgeon! He's just so much fun with his wacky robot dance he does after he successfully rides a bull, his faith of which he is not ashamed, and just his good nature.
About 2.5 months ago, Paulo came off a bull, landing on the top of his head and "cracking" his C1.
You can imagine how close to home this felt to me. The Justin Sports Medicine surgeon, Dr. Tandy Freeman, reported at the end of that fateful event that Paulo would be back in about 3 weeks.
I did something I never do. I found the bullrider's website. I emailed him that he should NOT return to riding bulls that soon, and told him a bit of my story. I didn't expect to hear back from him and I didn't. No big deal.
Then, tonight, at Orlando, there is Paulo, back and ready to ride. He said to the interviewer, Leah Garcia, that he had not gotten on any practice bulls. That the bull he was about to ride in the competition would be the first one he'd be back riding since "cracking" his C1.
My husband and I watched unbelievably, on live TV, as Paulo came off the bull in almost the same manner as the night he'd broken his neck. Then, the 1200 lb. bull fell on top of him.
The cowboy struggled to his feet and crossed the arena holding on to the back of his head, an area I know all too well. He knelt against the doctor with his head into the doctor's chest, looking for comfort. I knew how he must be feeling. There is NO feeling, nothing to compare, to pain in that area that is millimeters from your brainstem.
Dr. Freeman asked him where he hurt and Paulo said, "My neck." The doctor asked him if he thought he could walk out of the arena and Paulo said yes. Dr. Freeman said, "Well let's do that then."
Paulo stood up and walked out, wincing with each step in a way that cut me to the bone. I know so well what that wincing represents.
I was simply incredulous. I knew he should not be returning to bullriding, not this year, if ever again at all. And to see this horrific wreck, it hit me strongly.
Later, reporter Leah Garcia stated that Dr. Freeman said that Paulo had broken his collar bone.
The commentators and we, ourselves, breathed a sigh of relief. JW Hart said, "Hey, it's bad he broke his collarbone, but a collarbone is better than a broken neck any day!"
But...from my own experience...they really do not know yet what happened to Paulo in this subsequent wreck. The doctors didn't know I had suffered atlanto occipital dislocation until 3. 5 years after my injury! I am praying for Paulo and for his doctors and that they will go to the lengths necessary to discover the extent of this accident tonight, especially as it relates to his C1.
How sad to see a youthful athlete at the top of his game cut down like this.
The picture above is of Paulo, swiped from his website.