By: Justin Felisko
November 14, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – In the moments following Aaron Roy’s vicious hang up and wreck during Round 1 of the 2016 Built Ford Tough World Finals, the resounding question running through various PBR circles was if Roy had re-injured his surgically repaired back.
It was at the 2013 Calgary Stampede when Roy sustained a near career-ending broken back that almost left the Canadian bull rider paralyzed. Seeing Roy get hung up and tossed underneath Locked and Loaded in Las Vegas quickly brought back fears of Roy’s previous injury that kept him out of competition for 15 months.
Therefore, the fact that Roy escaped any further serious injury outside of a broken right femur and a series of bumps, bruises and skin burns in Las Vegas two weeks ago was, in a way, good news.
“Yeah, I was thankful it isn’t much worse,” Roy said in Las Vegas the day after he was released from the hospital. “My leg is pretty sore, but it feels good moving around instead of lying in bed all the time.”
Roy underwent surgery on Nov. 3 and had two screws inserted to hold the bone together. He was released from University Medical Center’s Trauma Center a day later.
“It was an hour and 10 minutes from the time I got put under and I woke up in recovery,” Roy said of the surgery. “They told me the surgery itself was 40 minutes.”
The 29-year-old told PBR.com on Monday that his leg is still pretty sore, but his other injuries were beginning to heal up.
“My arm is almost back to looking like normal and my black eye is just about gone,” Roy said. “The swelling in my leg is just about gone.”
Roy was back at T-Mobile Arena before Round 4 of the World Finals to say hello to his buddies in the locker room and to thank the PBR Sports Medicine team.
Roy said in Las Vegas he remembered portions of his wreck that left many in attendance stunned.
“I do recollect hanging up,” Roy said. “I thought (my leg) broke when I first got hung up and he hit me. I had no idea I got knocked out or anything. I do remember being hung up and trying to get to my feet the whole time.”
Close friend Stetson Lawrence jumped into the arena once PBR Sports Medicine was down working on Roy.
Lawrence is set to compete at this coming weekend’s New Town, North Dakota, Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour event at the Four Bears Casino & Lodge Events Center on Friday and Saturday.
“It makes me want to ride better for him and for myself,” Lawrence said. “Cheer him up more than anything and lift his spirits at the same time. It was a little disturbing because it was so sudden and we didn’t know exactly what was going on. Everyone was questioning how bad it was. It was bad, but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. It looked really bad.”
The injury was a tough end to the 2016 season for Roy. He was having the best run of his career since his career-threatening injury at the Calgary Stampede. Roy had ridden nine of his last 17 (52.94 percent) and was well on his way to a great ride aboard Locked and Loaded.
Roy finished the season 29th in the world standings after going 20-for-71 (28.17 percent) with six Top-10 finishes in 26 events. The 26 events were the most Roy competed in since 2012 – the year before his broken back.
“I was riding that bull pretty good to go for the first seconds of that round. It is bull riding. These things happen,” Roy said.
His best finish was a season-high fourth-place in New York where he rode Little Red Jacket for a season-high 89.25 points.
Roy also posted a second-place finish on the second night of the Bismarck, North Dakota, Dakota Community Bank & Trust PBR Bull Riding Challenge Velocity Tour event in June. He also had back-to-back 90-point rides in Big Sky, Montana, at the Velocity Tour event on Chad Berger’s Yesterday’s Wine (90 points) and Apollo Stripes (90.5 points).
Roy said he didn’t have time to even think about Calgary in those seconds when he was fighting to free himself from Locked and Loaded at the Finals.
“No. There are too many things going through your mind at that time,” Roy said. “At that time, it was mostly getting to my feet so I can get out of there.”
The five-time Glen Keeley award winner, which is awarded to the PBR’s top Canadian bull rider yearly, is expected to be out at least six months. Roy has a guaranteed eight BFTS events in 2017, but said he plans on using the time away to make an eventual decision on his future.
“I would have taken a little less of an injury, but for it to be just this it is pretty thankful,” Roy concluded. “Six months down the road we will see what I decide to do.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
© 2016 PBR Inc. All rights reserved.