LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Just like football, basketball, baseball or other sport, a group of athletic trainers are waiting on the sidelines of the 76th Annual ABC Pro Rodeo.
The Justin Boot Sportsmedicine Team has been assisting rodeo athletes since its inception in 1980. The Justin Boot Company offsets cost for athletic trainers, physicians, orthopedists, physical therapists and many more medical experts to be stationed around the country to care for those athletes and rodeo workers.
Mark Chisum worked for 20 years as an athletic trainer for Texas Tech's football and track teams. He was asked to visit the Houston Rodeo as a trainer about 25 years ago and has been a part of the team ever since.
"We have a lot of people like myself and there are some full-time athletic trainers that do rodeo events going from rodeo to rodeo just like the athletes are," Chisum said.
The goal is to provide continuous care from one rodeo to another for athletes traveling and looking for preventative care and treatment for injuries. A computer database is used by the teams around the country to keep up with athletes.
"If I go to another rodeo and open up the computer, I know about this athlete and know what happened to him and what's going on," Chisum said. "We want to keep them going down the road. Sometimes they don't want to tell us, because they want to keep going down the road. Right now, they are trying to earn as much money as they can. At the end of September the top 15 go to the national finals rodeo. They are going all year long and they have a lot of wear and tear and a lot of car time and windshield time and bumps and bruises. We are trying to settle that down and keep them going down the road."
Some athletes wear helmets, Kevlar vests, mouth pieces and other gear. Chisum said his team also works to educate athletes on how to take care of themselves, including at home.
"They are hard workers, the girls and guys," Chisum said. "As far as helping them go down the road, that is a big part of what we do. They look at us as a positive resource, which makes you feel good because you're taking care of guys that want to be taken care of."
The ABC Pro Rodeo starts March 29 at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum and runs through March 31. For tickets, click here.