Austin injured, could miss Dallas


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. World Champion Bull Rider Matt Austin's bid for a second straight world title could be in danger. Austin (Wills Point, Texas) suffered abdominal and groin tears at the Trinity Valley Exposition in Liberty, Texas, on Oct. 19 when the bull he was riding, Lancaster & Pickett Pro Rodeo's Showtime, stumbled and fell after its first series of jumps.

Austin stayed in position on the bull, but was injured when he tried to pull his torso back up into a vertical position after being pulled down on the stumbling bull. The bull's downforce, working against Austin's attempts to re-set himself, was enough to tear muscles in Austin's groin and abdomen, and he had to be helped from the arena.

"I never really got jerked away from my hand or into my hand, he just kind of pulled me down and I sat up like normal," Austin said. "I knew something was wrong because I felt it knot up and then something tear."

Austin visited a number of doctors the day of his injury, but they were unable to pinpoint what muscles had been damaged. He then went to Dr. Tandy Freeman's office in Dallas, and Freeman made the diagnosis. Freeman also suspects that Austin has a "sports hernia," which is characterized by pain in the abdominals and groin.

He will miss the Xtreme Bulls Ride Hard Tour presented by B&W Trailer Hitches culminating events in Indianapolis, Oct. 27-28, and therefore will not have a chance to repeat as the Xtreme Bulls National Champion.

Austin, who is using crutches to move around, began physical therapy on Oct. 26, and will visit Dr. Freeman again on Nov. 7. That evaluation will determine if Austin is ready to compete in the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Championship, hosted by the Interstate Batteries Texas Stampede, in Dallas, Nov. 10-12.

"We'll just see if he can ride in Dallas, but the likelihood is that will not be the case," Freeman said. "We're just trying to get him well enough to ride at the (Wrangler National) Finals and then will evaluate things at that point."

Austin maintained his customary positive outlook, despite the injury.

"I sure wanted to win back-to-back titles in everything, but I won't be able to win Xtreme Bulls again," Austin said. "Hopefully I'll be healed up for the (Wrangler National) Finals and will be able to go there and do some good. If it (another world title) isn't meant to be, then there's next year. It'll all work out."