The Most Dangerous Games
Games and sports are important activities or events to human life as it not only improves the mental and psychical fitness of the participants, but it also generates excitement to both the participants and the fans. However, some players have to feature in dangerous actions and training to provide their fans with high level entertainments. Dangerous games have exited in ancient times where people used to seek for thrilling and training in from sports daring sports such as wrestling, sword fighting and gladiators. One of the dangerous games that existed both in ancient times, and today is bull riding, which has become increasingly popular in many parts of the world such as North America, Australia, Mexico, and New Zealand. In addition, the danger in bull riding has been increasing due to the introduction of increasingly powerful and muscular bulls into the arenas as a result of selective breeding. A study by Livingston, Koval, and Scholes (2012) asserted that bull riders are 10 times susceptible to serious injuries compared to football players. Moreover, the study revealed that between the year 2008 and 2012, 62 riders suffered life-changing injuries whereas 16 riders died. Therefore, compared to other fierce modern sports such as hockey, motorcycle biking, base jumping and big wave surfing, bull riding is more dangerous due to its higher rates of injuries and some deaths.
Bull riding refers to a sport where a rider gets on the back of a bull and attempt to stay mounted while the bull attempts to buck off once released from a cage in a bid to measure the rider’s strength, balance, and endurance to identify the best rider. Particularly, the rider is expected to hold onto the back of the bull for at least eight seconds with one hand holding onto the bull rope, while keeping the other hand raised in the air (Stone, 2013). A rider earns a score when they stay past eight seconds mounted on the repelling bull, and no score when the rider gets bucked off before the eighth second. Each ride is worth up to 100 points where the first 50 is awarded to the bull and the remaining is rewarded to the rider (Stone, 2013). Thus, bull riding is regarded as one of the most dangerous time in sports since the bull rider is subjected to kicks that can cause serious injuries.
The Danger of the Game
In as much as bull riders are required to stay on the bulls for a few seconds, the short time is dangerous enough to have their face and body crushed by the fuming bull. A rider is required to hold onto a rope tied underneath the bull with their hands wrapped in this rope (Stone, 2013). As the bull keeps on bucking off, a rider is likely to swerve off the back of the bull while their hands still tied on the rope, making it possible for them to be dragged under the bull and crushed totally. Many bull riders end up being dragged, stepped on and crushed by the furious animal. These bulls always weigh between 1,000 and almost 2,000 pounds, and a crush from them would mean a serious injury to the player (Stone, 2013). The setting of the game even makes it more dangerous as a rider is required to hold onto a fully charged bull that tosses him/her up to 15 or 20 feet around the pitch. Moreover, a bull is likely to charge after the rider in case they fall, and the chance that it might get the grip of their hands is high since the moment happens within a split of seconds. Sometimes, riders are required to ride once more immediately after receiving an injury from the first attempt to take advantage of the adrenaline surge gathered from the first ride (McMurray, 2011). Notwithstanding, not only the riders are susceptible to injury, but also the rodeo jokesters who have the role of scaring the bull from attacking a rider after being tossed to the ground (McMurray, 2011). Rodeo jokesters are equally in danger of being crushed by the bull in case they fail to control the bull (McMurray, 2011). For these reasons, bull riding is so unsafe and it is only for the chosen few as only few riders manages to hold tight for the whole 8 seconds.
A study by Dale Butterwick, (2012) revealed that bull riders are already aware of the danger of the game. The reported casualties and deaths from riding on an angry, bucking 900 kilogram bull are alarming over the last two decades. Butterwick reports indicated that between 2008 and 2012, approximately 20 of 50, 000 bull riders are likely to suffer from a catastrophic injury, a rate that is higher compared to other injury prone sports such hockey and football (Livingston, Koval, Livingston, & Scholes, 2012). The study further revealed that majority of the injury normally occurs in the rough stock events such as bareback riding, saddle bronco and junior bull and junior bull riding. Most of the casualties are men due to their higher participation number and interest for the game compared to women. In other cases, some victims succumb to death and permanent injuries. The most common injuries suffered by riders include head injuries as well as knee and shoulders injuries. Concussions account for nearly 35 percent of the bull riding injuries. Lastly, Butterwick asserts that here has been 16 deaths between 2008 and 2012 and 41 between the year 1989 and 2009 across the countries where the sports is active (Livingston, Koval, Livingston, & Scholes, 2012). However, there are few safety gears such as the use of helmets, flak jackets and bull ropes, boots and protective gloves to guard riders from the impact of an enraging bull.
Concisely, bull riding still remains the deadliest sport to play in spite of all the safety measures adopted to reduce the danger in the game. However, the games still attracts many participants despite all the dangers involved since riders are compelled with the thrill and passion to contest and complete the game. Similarly, the game attracts many fans who finds the crushing and the behaviors of the riders the charged bulls entertaining and thrilling. Riders are prone to injuries every year where others end up succumbing to life-changing injuries or even deaths. Thus, comparing to other games such as hockey, motorcycle biking, base jumping and big wave surfing, bull riding remains a more hazardous and a life threatening game. The available safety measures need to be reviewed to make the game safer to the interested participants.
- Livingston, R., Koval, L., Livingston, L., & Scholes, N. (2012). Six-year retrospective study of bull-riding injuries in central Queensland. The Australasian Medical Journal, 5(7), 362–366. http://doi.org/10.4066/AMJ.2012.1280.
- McMurray, J. (2011, July 14). Bull riding most dangerous sport: study. Toronto Sun, Retrieved from: http://www.torontosun.com/2011/07/14/bull-riding-most-dangerous-sport-study.
- Stone, L. (2013). Rodeo bull riders. Chicago, IL: Britannica Digital Learning