When he arrived at the hospital three weeks ago, doctors estimated there was a 60 percent chance Odessa College bull rider Bradie Gray wouldn’t leave.
Wednesday afternoon, he was discharged.
“It’ll be good to get out in the sun a little bit and be able to relax a little bit more,” Gray said Wednesday at a news conference at Wyoming Medical Center. He used an oxygen tank while speaking with media.
Gray sustained life-threatening injuries at last month’s College National Finals Rodeo when he was bucked and stepped on by Frontier’s Levi the Boss at the Casper Events Center. It was the first life-threatening injury to occur at the college finals since it moved to Casper in 1999.
“I remember most of my ride,” said Gray, a junior. “I remember getting on the bull and him stepping on my chest. I remember getting up and running to the chutes and then I don’t remember anything else after that.”
Gray suffered broken ribs, collapsed lungs and a bruised aorta. He arrived at the Wyoming Medical Center without a pulse.
Odessa College coach C.J. Aragon said at the time Gray had a 40 percent chance of surviving. Gray is now able to walk and was released from the intensive care unit a week ago.
“I remember, I felt like I was in deep trouble,” Gray said. “As soon as I got back to the chutes, I could feel something was wrong.”
More than $27,000 has been raised for Gray on GoFundMe to help pay for medical costs. He was visited in the hospital by three-time defending world champion bull rider Sage Kimzey and fellow professional bull rider Tyler Taylor. Members of the Odessa College rodeo team came to see Gray, including two who came Wednesday to be there when he was discharged.
“It’s been amazing,” Gray said. “I never really thought there would be that many people that would back me like that, but it’s really been amazing, and I can’t thank everyone enough for what they’ve done for me.”
The bull rider is a native of Australia. His parents, Mick and Sharon, were in Casper for the CNFR.
“Thank Christ we were here,” Mick Gray said. “It wouldn’t have been a real nice phone call to get that he was hurt and that far away.”
Mick Gray said the family will begin the drive back to Odessa on Friday. Bradie Gray will see another doctor there to make sure it is safe for him to fly back to Australia.
Gray said he expects to return to bull riding after taking “six to 12 months off to make sure everything is healed right.”
“Really, I’ve got to focus on my breathing a little bit,” Gray said of the next step of his recovery. “And then other than that, we’re just going to slowly start getting healthy again and let the ribs heal and let everything heal, really, until it’s 100 percent.”