Saddlebronc rider Luke Butterfield was having one heck of a season when being bucked off put everything on hold.
Butterfield, from Ponoka, was at the Cloverdale Rodeo in British Columbia when things took a turn for the worst. It was a ride like any other; Butterfield had drawn Kesler’s stock Navajo Sun.
“I’ve been on that horse a lot and I’ve won on him,” he said.
However during this ride it was different, as Butterfield believes his spur got stuck as he was being bucked off. From there, his foot wouldn’t move while his body was thrown.
“I’ve never had my foot locked. It felt like somebody reached up and held it,” he explained.
When it comes to being stuck in the stirrups, rodeo athletes hope for a way out and sometimes the best way that can happen is if the horse steps on the rider, which ends up dislodging them. That was the case for Butterfield.
It’s not an ideal situation, he explained, but if it gets one out of being stuck then he will take it.
“I went directly to the hospital because I knew my leg was broke…I could feel it snap and when I looked down I knew,” said Butterfield.
The injury was severe and Butterfield was taken to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster. He said the hospital is a trauma centre with skilled surgeons.
Right away medical crews looked at the danger of compartment syndrome. According to Wikipedia, compartment syndrome is a serious condition that occurs when there’s a large amount of pressure inside a muscle compartment.
In order to alleviate the pressure, a fasciotomy was performed on his leg. This was on top of the fact that Butterfield had three bone breaks including his tibia and fibula.
A nail was implanted into his leg to help with the break and then there was the waiting until further surgery could be performed. For Butterfield, this was a tough time as he had to fast before surgery, which was then pushed back to allow other surgeries to go through.
He says the trauma centre was busy and doctors had to deal with each surgery on their level of severity. Despite the wait, he praised nurses and surgeons for their care.
The 32-year-old rodeo athlete has been riding competitively since he was 18 and he’s had some wrecks over the years including a broken ankle.
Thankfully the support was there from family. His mother Maria flew out to help Butterfield and the show of support from friends, family and those in the industry has been strong.
The timing of this wreck isn’t the best as Butterfield was on a positive climb to the National Finals Rodeo.
He has been getting physical therapy two times a week with Kenda Butterfield of Vantage Physiotherapy.
“She’s real positive,” he said, adding that Kenda knows what rodeo athletes need to heal up.
He knows this is going to be a long-term healing process but he wants to get back in the saddle. In the meantime, Butterfield is going through healing week-by-week. It’s only been a month since the wreck so each week brings a new improvement.
Even right after his surgery, the nurses had Butterfield walking around. “That’s all I care about is getting better and healing this sucker up.”
“Considering my week-to-week, there’s been significant improvements.”
He says that while there are dangers in rodeo, there are dangers in everyday life.
For now he hopes to watch his brother Brock compete in the Ponoka Stampede and focus on healing.