After near-fatal injuries, Odessa College bull rider says he’ll be back

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Odessa College bull rider Bradie Gray had arrived at the Wyoming Medical Center without a pulse after a bull bucked him to the ground and stepped on him, breaking multiple ribs, collapsing both his lungs and bruising the main artery attached to his heart.

Doctors gave Gray a 60 percent chance of not leaving the hospital. Three weeks later, on Wednesday, he walked out pulling an oxygen tank.

Gray, 20, is a native of Australia. He was competing in the College National Finals Rodeo with his parents in attendance when the bull bucked him.

“I remember most of my ride,” Gray said. “”I remember getting on the bull and him stepping on my chest. I remember getting up and running to the chutes and then I don’t remember anything else after that.”

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Gray fought against the odds for the next three weeks, and the bull-riding community took notice. Three-time defending world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey and fellow professional bull rider Tyler Taylor paid him a visit. And two of his rodeo teammates at Odessa College were by his side when he was discharged.

“It’s been amazing,” Gray said. “I never really thought there would be that many people that would back me like that, but it’s really been amazing, and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done for me.”

Gray and his parents will head back to Odessa, Texas, before seeing another doctor and flying home to Australia.

“Really, I’ve got to focus on my breathing a little bit,” Gray said of the next step of his recovery. “And then other than that, we’re just going to slowly start getting healthy again and let the ribs heal and let everything heal, really, until it’s 100 percent.”

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Gray said he expects to return to bull riding after taking “six to 12 months off to make sure everything is healed right.”