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Spinal Cord Injury Ends Colletti’s Season

by Jim Bainbridge | Aug 18, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Bareback rider Casey Colletti, who has qualified for the past three Wrangler National Finals Rodeos, is out for the remainder of the 2014 season with a spinal cord injury.

“I saw a neck specialist (Dr. John Paul Elliott, on Aug. 11) in Denver at the Swedish Medical Center,” said Colletti, who lives in Pueblo, Colo. “He told me that my spinal cord was kind of like stretched and that he didn’t want me to ride. I have to go back and get an MRI in October. He said there was nothing I could do except let it heal. I can’t ride (again) until I get the MRI in October. He’s going to look at the MRI and see if it’s getting better and tell me what the steps are after that. I can do everything, I just can’t ride bucking horses.”

The injury is something Colletti has been battling since early July.

“I hurt my neck at Greeley (Stampede, July 1) and I fought it off and I went to a bunch of rodeos,” the 28-year-old Colletti said. “I hurt it again and I sat out for a couple of weeks trying to recover, and then I went to Dodge City, Sidney (Mont.), Great Falls, (Mont.) and Phillipsburg (Kan.). At Phillipsburg (Aug. 2), I was making a good ride and about the fifth jump, I felt my neck pop and it sent a stinger out to my left arm to the point of the shoulder. When I got off, I could barely lift up my left arm. I actually ended up turning out of the short round at Dodge City and went and had an MRI.”

Colletti, who finished a career-best fifth in the world standings in 2011, is trying to cope with being sidelined. Colletti was 23rd in the Aug. 18 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings.

“At the end of the day, it’s how I make my living, so this is tough to take,” said Colletti, who also missed a chunk of the season after having right knee surgery on March 25. “He (Dr. Elliott) didn’t tell me I would never rodeo again, but he said he wants to make sure my spinal cord heals correctly. He also said he couldn’t give me an exact time; that’s why he wanted me to have another MRI in October to see how the process is going.”

Injured bull rider Ty Wallace, who is ninth in the Aug. 18 world standings, plans to return to action Aug. 30 at the Xtreme Bulls Finale in Ellensburg, Wash.

Wallace, 20, has been out of action since Aug. 2 when he fractured his pelvis and partially tore a hip flexor when he was hung up while riding 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Lil Warrior at the Dodge City (Kan.) Roundup Rodeo.

“The bull pulled me down, and it was kind of a weird deal,” Wallace said. “I kind of spun on top of his head and I got a horn in my pelvis area. They (the doctors) said it will just heal up, and I plan on being back at Ellensburg for the Xtreme Bulls finals.”

Wallace is seeking to qualify for his first Wrangler NFR. As a rookie last year, the Collbran, Colo., cowboy finished 47th in the world standings.

“This is just part of bull riding; injuries are going to happen,” Wallace said. “It sucks that it happened at this time of year, because it’s kind of in that crunch time. I plan on taking about a month off and going to the Xtreme Bulls finals, and then being pretty much healthy for September.”

Two-time Steer Wrestling World Champion Dean Gorsuch underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow July 16, and will be out until the beginning of 2015; he’s targeting the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver next January for his return.

Gorsuch believes he initially injured his right elbow May 27 at the Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Ark.

“I hurt it there and kept going to rodeos, and it just never got better,” Gorsuch, 34, said. “It kept getting worse and worse and I started hurting other things. At Reno (June 23), I sprained my (right) clavicle joint and that hurt real bad. My last rodeo I competed at was at Greeley (Stampede, June 26). I was hurting everything and it was just not good.”

In addition to his right elbow injury, Gorsuch also is going to schedule surgery on his left elbow.

“I’m just going to get my left elbow cleaned up,” Gorsuch said. “I have some scar tissue and stuff in there. I’m just trying to get everything fixed while I’m out for six months. I don’t know when I’m going to have the left elbow surgery because I’m just going to get it scoped. My goal is to get back by Fort Worth (Stock Show & Rodeo, Jan. 16-Feb. 7) and Denver (National Western Stock Show, Jan. 10-25). But, if the doctors say I can’t, I can’t. I’m not going to rush anything because I want to come back strong.”

Bull rider Joe Frost, who is 14th in the Aug. 18 world standings, separated the AC joint in his right shoulder on Aug. 9 in Coalville, Utah.

Frost is doctor released until at least Aug. 24, and hopes to be back for rodeos in Walla Walla and Ellensburg, Wash.

The 2009 world champion and three-time WNFR saddle bronc rider Jesse Kruse is out until next season with a labral tear in his hip, while five-time WNFR steer wrestler Matt Reeves is currently out with a sprained hip, with no timetable for return.

Courtesy of PRCA