The rodeo world was shocked as they witnessed the suicide of their beloved bull rider on the fateful 9th January, 2017. Ty Pozzobon, a world-class pro bull rider took his life at the age of 25 at his home in Merritt, B.C.
His family confirmed his depression and his battle with concussions upon his suicide. Following his death, the brain of the talented rodeo was donated for research where he was declared the first confirmed case of the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, also known as CTE. In his career of bull riding, Pozzobon suffered multiple head injuries. He was referred to a neurologist multiple times but in vain as his passion for the sport came in the way. Regarding his concussions, he managed to fool his family and friends and chose to continue with the sport. His family got to know about the number of bleeds in his brain only after they had donated his brain to the traumatic brain injury research. This inspired them to start a foundation in his name and spread awareness along with providing free counseling and wellness services to the riders who need them.
CTE is a very rare condition of brain degeneration causing complications such as depression, suicidal thoughts, short-term memory loss, aggression, speech, vision, problems with thinking, planning and emotions among other cognitive behaviors. The diagnosis of CTE can only be made by studying different sections of the brain during the time of the autopsy and is most likely found in people who played contact sports.
Marking the second death anniversary of the Merritt pro bull rider, the foundation in his name ‘The Ty Pozzobon Foundation’ and the ‘Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team’ (CPRSMT) released another educational video on the mental health awareness. After the discovery of this chronic brain disease, the bull riders from around the globe have become more aware and open about discussing the problems they face relating to their sport.
At the time of his death, he was ranked 23rd among the bull riders worldwide and had won over USD 100,ooo in Las Vegas.