Hallsville bull rider severely injured in US rodeo

Casper: An Australian bull rider has suffered life-threatening injuries when a bull threw him and stepped on his chest at the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming, his coach says.

Twenty-year-old Bradie Gray, from Hallsville, near Tamworth in northwestern NSW, suffered broken ribs, a bruised aorta and collapsed lungs Thursday night at the Casper Events Centre, Odessa College 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.

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.

Gray is taken from the arena to hospital. Photo: Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

Gray is taken from the arena to hospital. Photo: Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

"He's not doing real good," Aragon told the media. "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."

In a Facebook post on Friday morning, the team asked followers to continue to pray for the young rider. 

"He was stepped on the chest by a bull at the CNFR tonight. He had emergency surgery because of internal injuries. He is in very critical condition in the ICU and will have more surgeries once they have him stabilized later today. Your continued thoughts and prayers are appreciated."

​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