Austin is a true cowboy. When he was 12, he was very involved in his local 4-H Club with his horse, Buddy, and he’s won several awards for his leather-craft work. He is also an award-winning junior bull rider, a sport that almost cost him his life.

During a February youth rodeo competition, Austin was bucked, then trampled, by a bull. Despite wearing his regulation helmet, Austin suffered a traumatic brain injury. Emergency medical responders watching the rodeo administered immediate care until he could be flown directly to Children’s Hospital Colorado.

At the hospital, Austin remained unresponsive during initial tests to determine how severely he was hurt – the bull had fractured his skull and face, and he had lost a lot of blood. Doctors induced a coma to help stabilize the swelling in Austin’s brain.

Two weeks weeks passed. Finally, the swelling subsided: Austin was ready for a three-team relay surgery to repair the brain damage he suffered.

Neurosurgery was only the beginning of Austin’s recovery. He spent the next eight weeks at the hospital, receiving treatment from more than 15 pediatric specialty areas. Emergency medicine, intensive care, neurosurgery, neurology, radiology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, endocrinology, rehabilitation, physical therapy and several other specialty areas each played a critical role in supporting Austin and his family as he recovered from the massive trauma.

Day by day, Austin healed. He is extremely grateful for his return to health and takes every opportunity to prevent other young rodeo riders from getting injured doing the sport they all love.

Now 13 years old, Austin is still recovering. He has short-term memory loss, and receives therapy for his eye and arm. Compared to his original injuries, few challenges remain in the way of his recovery.

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