Bull rider severely injured

CRITICAL: Coaches and emergency crews carry NSW bull rider Bradie Gray from the arena during the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. Picture: Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune
CRITICAL: Coaches and emergency crews carry NSW bull rider Bradie Gray from the arena during the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. Picture: Alan Rogers/The Casper Star-Tribune

A BULL rider from north-west NSW who suffered life-threatening injuries when the animal threw him and stepped on his chest at a United States rodeo has regained consciousness and even attempted to talk.

Twenty-year-old Bradie Gray, from Hallsville, near Tamworth, suffered broken ribs, a bruised aorta and collapsed lungs Thursday night at the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming, coach CJ Aragon told the Casper Star-Tribune.

Gray had no pulse when he arrived at the Wyoming Medical Centre. He underwent surgery, was in a medically-induced coma and on a ventilator and faced another operation on Friday, Aragon said.

But, in a Facebook post on Saturday, the Odessa College Rodeo Team said the young bull rider’s condition had improved.

“Here is the latest update from Mick Gray, Bradie's father," the post read.

”Just come out from seeing Bradie, he is starting to improve,” it said.

“He woke when we were in there, he tried to talk but couldn't with the ventilator in, that will stay in for a few days to help him breathe, wiggled his fingers and toes, he even wanted to write something down on a piece of paper but was to weak.

“His blood pressure is good now and holding by itself, he has many broken ribs, punctured lung and bruising around the heart.

“The support that we have received has been truly amazing, there are to many to thank individually, I want everyone to know how much we appreciate it .

“Bradie is an amazing young man and I thought we had lost him last night it was touch and go for while but some one up there was looking out for him. Thanks everyone for their support, prayers and messages.”

Gray was bucked off Frontier Rodeo's Levi the Boss and the bull stepped on his chest. He was able to stand up and was pulled into a bucking chute where he was put on a backboard and taken by ambulance to hospital.

"He's not doing real good," Aragon told the media on Friday. "When he got to the hospital last night he had no pulse, no heartbeat and no blood pressure. One of the doctors told me last night that there was a 60 per cent chance that he wasn't going to come out (of the hospital) alive."

Gray was recruited to Texas after he was noticed at an Australian competition. He has been riding since he was five-years-old. 

Gray, a junior at the college in Texas, told the Star-Tribune on Tuesday that he was coming off his fifth serious injury of his college rodeo career. He suffered a broken back as a freshman, twice broke his jaw, suffered a torn groin and earlier this year broke a collarbone.

He also spoke about his decision to come to the United States to compete.

"It's what I love," he said. "I've been bred to do it, so we're here to do it."

Gray said he had ridden just one practice bull in preparation for the College National Finals Rodeo as he recovered from his most recent injury.

"I try to ignore it all and just have fun," he told the Star-Tribune. "That's what you need to do."

He was named Australian rookie of the year in 2016 by Professional Bull Riders.

There has been an outpouring of support on social media.

AP with Han Nguyen