UA Doctors Help Put Cowboys Back in the Saddle at Fiesta de los Vaqueros Rodeo
Rodeo cowboys and cowgirls are accustomed to pain. Sometimes, however, injuries demand attention, and that's when University of Arizona doctors get involved.
UA doctors will leave the sterile environment of the hospital and enter the dusty, grimy world of the professional rodeo rider at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros beginning Wednesday, Feb. 19. They will be on hand just in case a rodeo rider spills off the back of a horse or gets beaten by a 1,500-pound bull.
For more than 12 years, Allan J. Hamilton, MD, head of the Department of Surgery at the UA College of Medicine, dons boots, chaps and hat and volunteers his services to make sure the rodeo is as safe as possible. This year, UA Department of Surgery trauma docs Rifat Latifi, MD, and Mark Williams, MD, as well as plastic surgeon Christopher Maloney, MD, will join Dr. Hamilton.
Also providing aid to the ropers and riders will be UA Department of Anesthesiology Pain Clinic medical director Kutaiba Tabbaa, MD, and residents from General Surgery and Anesthesia, who will staff a mobile medical unit -- just in case a rodeo rider's injury needs medical attention.
"We will be there to stabilize the riders and either get them back into competition or, if the injury is serious, have them transported to an emergency department," Dr. Hamilton says. "Concussions and spine injuries are the two most common injuries at the rodeo. Bull riding is the No. 1 event for getting hurt," he adds.
A world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Hamilton has always loved the rodeo and the world of cowboys. "They're tough as nails. Where most athletes have trainers, these men and women are alone out there."
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