darren krause/for metro calgary


Bareback rider Tom McFarland gets a tape job from athletic therapist Brandon Thome to protect a damaged rotator cuff prior to yesterday’s rodeo action.

Injuries are the nature of the beast — or beasts — in rodeo.

University of Calgary sports epidemiologist Dale Butterwick has helped implement an Internet database dedicated to tracking the “catastrophic injuries” that occur in professional rodeo today, with hopes the information logged will help provide insight into rodeo-related injuries.

“The goal is to identify and analyze and categorize catastrophic, severe injuries that occur in rodeo worldwide, and then use that information to develop a means of reducing the severity, reducing the incidence — trying to protect rodeo contestants against those severe, catastrophic injuries,” said Butterwick.

Butterwick said this is a voluntary Internet-based program that allows information to be put directly into the database. He doesn’t expect any significant conclusions to come from the database for three to four years.

Bareback rider Reid Rowan, of Seven Person, Alta., has been rodeoing for 12 years and endured multiple injuries in that time — including nursing a potentially fractured wrist right now. But he’s uncertain about the potential of the injury registry.

“Any time you are trying to improve the safety it’s good, but we’re dealing with wild animals,” Rowan said.

“You can’t tell what they’re going to do, so that’s kind of the unknown that no one can control.”

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