By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – 2019 Rookie of the Year Dalton Kasel is beginning his recovery process for the 2021 season after undergoing right groin surgery for the second time in eight months this week.
Kasel posted on Instagram Tuesday afternoon that his surgery went well.
Kasel first told PBR.com that he would be undergoing season-ending surgery in early July when an MRI with Dr. Tandy Freeman revealed he had torn his groin for the second consecutive season.
“I teared it again and stuff, but this time I have a bone chip on my pelvis and a small fracture on my pelvis also,” Kasel said on July 2. “I wasn’t aware of the fracture or anything. I don’t know if it was because my groin was bothering me or what the deal is. That is how I understand it. I will have surgery on my groin again to remove that bone chip and then that pelvis will heal again on its own.
“Honestly, with how this year is going, this year has been a whole mess in the first place. I am not too worried about it. I will be ready for 2021.”
Renown surgeon Dr. William Meyers led the surgery in Philadelphia once again.
“It went good,” Kasel said Wednesday morning. “I’m feeling pretty damn good.”
Kasel underwent a core muscle repair on both of his groins with Meyers following the 2019 PBR World Finals. However, he never truly looked healthy in 2020 once he made his season debut on Feb. 7 at Iron Cowboy. Oscar’s Ghost bucked him off in 5.59 seconds and the PBR Sports Medicine Team had to help him off the dirt inside STAPLES Center.
The 21-year-old then took an additional two months off before riding at the Las Vegas Invitational, presented by Union Home Mortgage, in Guthrie, Oklahoma, on April 26-27.
Kasel appeared ready to burst back onto the scene with a second-place finish at the Lazy E Arena. He went 2-for-3, riding Milburn Special (85 points) and Soup in a Group (90.75 points). It was his last buckoff, though, that may have resulted in the torn groin. Three-time YETI World Champion SweetPro’s Bruiser bucked Kasel off in 7.97 seconds, and he can recall thinking something possibly was not right.
“In March, I went after L.A. to get an MRI and everything was fine,” Kasel said. “So it had to have happened somewhere between Guthrie and Vegas. I don’t think it happened in the practice pen. I think it may have happened on Bruiser because I felt it really tug on it. You can watch it back and hear me yell pretty loud.”
The second-year pro then went 2-for-11 in one additional Unleash The Beast event in Guthrie and five games for Team Lucas Oil at the Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, last month.
By the end of Division B play in Las Vegas, it was clear Kasel was in a lot of pain, and Freeman told him he likely had torn his groin again.
Kasel finished 2020 4-for-15 at all levels of competition.
One could not blame Kasel for being down about his situation, but he has remained upbeat and positive about all that has unfolded with his failed comeback from his first surgery.
“It is just one of them things where I am going to take it as a learning deal,” Kasel said. “I know the Lord has a plan, and I just have to trust that the Lord has a plan through this whole deal. That is what has kept me sane about it and not too worked up about it. I know the Lord has everything under control, and he is doing what is best for me. I may not know what that it is, but it is all in his plan. I trust him.
“The Lord has always given me a peaceful mind about everything, and I try to stay a clearly peaceful person because that is what helps me the most.”
Kasel finished 2019 ranked eighth in the world standings despite not even making his Unleash The Beast debut until Aug. 10 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after he was given an invite from the PBR’s competition committee.
That invite turned into a Rookie of the Year title as Kasel quickly proved he belonged alongside the PBR’s best riders.
Kasel went 14-for-35 with two 90-point rides, the Nampa victory and four Top-5 finishes in 10 events.
The second-year pro said in early July that one of the lessons he learned is that he needs to be stricter with his rehabilitation this time around.
“I will be more cautious about when I will return, but also more aggressive in my rehab,” Kasel said. “I will make sure I do everything, and do it absolutely to the best I can.”
He was already planning on heading to physical therapy on Wednesday as he begins the road to recovery.
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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