Professional Bull Rider Injured - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Professional Bull Rider Injured

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The only female professional bull rider is in Billings for the weekend, but she's not signing autographs or greeting the public. Twenty-year-old Maggie Parker is recovering at St. Vincent Healthcare from an extreme bull riding accident that could have left her paralyzed.

During the Cody Rodeo, 20-year-old Maggie Parker was riding her bull when she lost a hold of her rope, was thrown, landed on her neck and crushed a vertebrae. After an intense four-hour surgery, Maggie said she's looking forward to getting back. "I couldn't change my lifestyle now even if I wanted to really. It's just what I do, and it's what I love to do. It's the best life. You get to travel, meet people, and you're all one big family," Maggie Parker said.

St. Vincent Healthcare neurosurgeon, Dr. Richard Teff, said adding eight screws and two rods to Maggie's back was no ordinary procedure. "When you have an athlete like Maggie, you need to be prepared to do a procedure that's much bigger than you would with anyone in a sedentary life. Instead of doing a very small spinal fixation with rods and screws it ends up being much bigger and more robust. So, if she decides to stress it in the future she'll be ready for that," Dr. Teff said.

Local cowgirl and long-time bull rider, Jonnie Jonckowski, said she's looking forward to Maggie's success. "Every thing I know of Maggie she is going to do just fine. You get that itch to get back out there. You've got to wait until you're ready. You take the world by storm, and she will! You watch," Jonnie said.

Maggie said she has competed in nearly 200 rodeos.