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Odessa College bull rider reflects on sustaining near-deadly injuries

Odessa college bull rider, Bradie Gray, was fresh from an injury when he set off to compete at the college national finals rodeo.

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Odessa college bull rider, Bradie Gray, was fresh from an injury when he set off to compete at the National College Rodeo Finals.

So fresh, he was only able to practice once before heading to Wyoming.

"I was a going in a little rusty, but I knew what I had to do was just get out there and enjoy it," said Gray.

But fast forward to the third round.

"I was getting on a bull called Levi . He threw me off and stepped on my chest. I stood there and tried to take a breath for a second but I couldn't, I looked up at my coach and my teammates and said help and that's the last thing I remember," said Gray.

Gray suffered the most severe injury in his bull riding career, he was rushed to the Wyoming Medical Center and arrived without a pulse.

Doctors said his chances of survival were slim.

"I can't put into words how thankful I am to be here still," said Gray.

Miraculously, after three weeks in the hospital with much of that time in the ICU, he was released.

When the bull slammed into Bradie, his ribs were broken, his lungs collapsed. It even left a bruise on his heart.

But despite how serious his injuries were, Bradie thinks he'll be back on a bull within a year.

"It's something I grew up doing. You do it once you can't really get it out of ya because it's so much fun," said Gray.

He's a third generation bull-rider, so his parents know he'll be back on a bull before long.

"They know that's what I love and they're not gonna try and take that away from me," said Gray. 

At just twenty and with many injuries in his past, Bradie says this experience was a harsh reminder of the respect he has for the bulls and while he wouldn't call himself fearless. He says the injuries come with the territory.

"There's always a little bit of fear but you always put it in the back of your mind. In bull-riding it's not if you get hurt it's when and how bad," said Gray.

Today Bradie Gray is heading home to Australia. He'll spend time with family, meet his new nephew and then return to the Odessa College rodeo team in September.