Objectives: To document injury rates, severity, and relative risk during five competitive seasons of Canadian professional rodeo, between experienced (saddle bronc [SB], bareback [BB], and bull riders [BR]) and inexperienced (novice saddle bronc [NSB], novice bareback [NBB], and boys' steer riders [BSR]) rough stock competitors.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: Canadian professional rodeo competition.
Subjects: Experienced competitors included professional cowboys from Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. Inexperienced competitors included cowboys from Canada and the United States.
Methods: Data was gathered prospectively at 63 of 323 professional rodeos in Canada from 1995 to 1999, constituting 30.8% of all professional rodeo performances during this time period. Injury data (severity and body part affected) was included when the injury occurred to a registered contestant, at a Canadian professional rodeo, at which the Canadian Professional Rodeo Sport Medicine Team was officially present and providing services. Data were collected by certified athletic therapists.
Main results: Inexperienced rough stock competitors had a lower overall rate of injury in comparison to experienced competitors. In addition, inexperienced rough stock competitors had a lower injury rate of severe injuries, and a lower rate of injury to most body parts when compared with experienced competitors. Inexperienced competitors had a high rate of injury to the hand, wrist, and forearm. Most of these injuries to inexperienced contestants occurred to NBB (46%) and BSRs (31%). The relative risk of injury to inexperienced competitors did not differ from experienced competitors in the horse riding events (NSB vs. SB, NBB vs. BB), but the relative risk of injury to BSRs was one-half that of BR (0.49).
Conclusions: Inexperienced competitors in rodeo rough stock events do not have increased rates of severe injury, or of injury to specific body parts (in general). Inexperienced competitors do have a greater rate of injury to the arm, hand, and wrist. The relative risk of BSR is one-half the risk of BR.