China native and rodeo star Beau Schroeder was airlifted to Las Vegas after an accident at the Fort Mojave Classic Xtreme Bulls event Sunday, March 24, in Fort Mojave, Ariz., left him with two collapsed lungs and a torn trachea, according to Punkee Schroeder, Beau’s father.
“The bull hooked him in the throat and cut his throat from the inside and cut his airway,” Punkee said. “When that bull hooked him in the throat, he didn’t tear his outside skin; he tore his trachea on the inside. All of the air escaped out of his lungs.”
Beau was initially treated at the hospital in Fort Mojave and then sent to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, according to his father.
“They had inserted a (tracheal) tube in him at Fort Mojave, and they said that was the only thing that saved his life,” Punkee said.
“Surgery to repair the trachea was performed that night at the University Medical Center in Las Vegas,” Rodeo Attitude’s website states. “Schroeder will have a tracheostomy tube in his neck for six weeks and will be unable to speak. He is reportedly texting family and friends from the Intensive Care Unit.”
Beau’s condition has improved in the past few days, according to his father.
“He’s breathing on his own right now,” he said. “He still has the tube in his lungs. They got him up today (Wednesday) and he did walk. He’s doing real good and is starting to come around.”
Punkee said that although doctors say his son may recover in six weeks, Beau’s future in bull riding remains uncertain at this point.
“I don’t know whether he is going to get back on, but he’s done better than 98 percent of them have,” Punkee said.
Schroeder won the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo average title in December and finished fourth in the 2012 world standings, with NFR earnings of $110,574. In 2011, Schroeder finished 34th in world standings with winnings of $32,516, according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association website. Schroeder won the College National Finals Rodeo bull riding championship in 2007 as a member of the McNeese State University Rodeo Team. He is a graduate of Hardin-Jefferson High School.