I have had a lot going on in my head in the last few days. Though I was not close with Ty, and had only hung out with him less than a handful of times, I know that he was different than most. His contagious smile, athletic ability, & kind heart will be missed by everyone. Pozzobon had an outstanding career & touched the soul of each person he met. I know that his family and many of my friends are hurting and it pains me to see the rodeo family grieving.
What does rodeo family mean to you? To me it means support and love. It means brothers and sisters. The rodeo family comes together in times of grievance to lift one another up. To be the shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen when you need someone to talk to. Times like this we need to take the time to grieve. Whatever that looks like for you, I hope you take the time to do this. Do not push the emotions you are feeling aside. If you are mad, be mad get mad, let it out. When you feel sadness surround you, accept it, cry, be sad. We are human and too often run away from these emotions, but I encourage you to embrace them. I hope that in time you will rise up from these emotions and share stories of Ty. Talk proudly of the man that he was. Reminisce of the friend he was to you. I hope that you find peace in sharing stories of the best times and what he meant to you with one another.
You don’t have to be a competitor to feel the presence of the rodeo family, as my friend Charmayne Crowe explains, “I’ve never competed but have been around the sport my whole life. I know more about some of these people than I do my own family members. It makes me incredibly proud to be considered part of the rodeo family. I think for the simple reason that not many communities can both compete against each other and love each other so loyally as the rodeo community.”
God & rodeo go hand in hand. Regardless of your religious beliefs, many people find comfort in believing in a higher power. That God has a plan, and that there is rhyme and reason behind all that happens in the world. When we lose someone and don’t understand why, people can find some peace in believing there was a reason that person was chosen to go home to be with their creator. In this time talk to God. Pray for those who have left us, and pray for their family.
Angels. I believe in angels and perhaps Ty is an angel who was sent to us to teach us to be kind to one another, to support, empower and love one another. To live life to the fullest and have no fear. To show us that when we live this way, there is no limit to what we can achieve. I hope that when people think of Ty they not only think of the good times, but are reminded of his character and that we should all live a little more like him.
Maybe we are also to open up our eyes to the world of sports injuries and head trauma and what can come of it.
Concussions have been overlooked in each and every sport. Though Ty rode with a helmet his concussions over time still affected him. I will not go into depth on this as I am not a doctor or specialist. “It’s important that people know about the implications of head injuries as a result of concussions,” Leanne, Ty’s mother said in a statement earlier this week. People in the rodeo community have since began speaking about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) which is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes (and others) with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions as well as asymptomatic sub-concussive hits to the head. Over the last few days many have shared some links to shed light on CTE. Check them out here and here. Though Ty may or may not have had CTE, it is still something worth reading up on. If you would sooner watch a movie to better understand, rather than read, then check out the trailer for Concussion here. We need to educate ourselves more on this matter, especially for our rodeo athletes.
Mental health is something that can go hand in hand with concussions, and we do not discuss it nearly enough. We feel our peers will judge us and not understand, and often they just don’t. If you have any mental health illness, it is just as serious as having any other illness; do not let anyone make you think otherwise. Depression is not something you can just turn off. Yes, it really can get that bad, that a person can feel there is no other option for them, no matter how great their life may look and be. Talk to your friends. Have a relationship with them that is deeper than gossip and surface conversation. We need to end the stigma around mental health. This starts with YOU.
If someone reaches out to you and begins to discuss what they are going through with you, listen. Be there for them & leave your judgement at the door. They trust they can confide in you without judgement and need an outlet. We have to look out for one another, as we are family.
“When you come to realize that we are truly connected, there are no goodbyes, Love has no disconnect.” – Debbie Hausauer