Teen Died 3 Times After Being Trampled by Bull. Determined to Ride Again


You’ve probably heard the saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again,” which is great advice in many cases and horrible in cases like skydiving.

But there’s something rugged and tenacious about not letting a situation get the best of you and getting up when you’ve fallen and giving something another try.

Wyatt Bruesch of Idaho is a 16-year-old with a taste for excitement. For him, that excitement comes in the form of bull riding.

It’s not what every 16-year-old does for fun. It requires work, knowledge of a very large kind of animal, and fast reflexes. But Wyatt loves what he does.

Anytime you’re around large animals, especially those known to be dangerous or at least risky, you flirt with pain and potential death. Wyatt was no stranger to the variety of bumps, bruises, and cuts that you get when you ride bulls.

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On May 19 he got a little more than he bargained for. The gate opened, he was on the bull for three seconds, and then he was in trouble.

His mom, who was sitting and watching, had a front-row seat to what almost became her own son’s death.

“I froze and felt sick to my stomach when the bull came running back and started trampling Wyatt. It was terrifying. We knew immediately that it was really bad,” Nicole Erickson, his mother, said.

Wyatt remembers the moment well. “The next thing I knew, that bull was trampling the left side of my chest with everything it had,” he said. “I was fighting for air. It was the worst kind of pain you can imagine.”

Portneuf Medical Center received him and his heart stopped beating three times. Drew McRoberts, the trauma director, said that the only option they had left to try reviving the young man was incredibly risky.

“You don’t perform it until the patient is literally at death’s doorstep and about to die,” he said. “The odds of surviving an ED thoracotomy are extremely low, which is why they’re rarely done.”

Fortunately, when Surgeon Jorge Amorim cut open the young man‘s chest and massaged his heart, it started to work again. But success was never guaranteed.

“We were told later that he was the first person to survive the procedure at the hospital this century,” Erickson said. “I look at him every day now and think, ‘Wow — you’re a miracle.’ We’re extremely lucky to still have him with us.”

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Despite the broken bones and the heart jumpstart, Wyatt is adamant that he’ll be back on a bull as soon as he’s healed.

“There’s nothing quite like it — it’s an incredible feeling. My record for staying on is eight seconds, and I’ve had plenty of scrapes, cuts and bruises, even a few stitches,” he said. “It’s all part of bull riding. To wake up in the hospital and learn what had happened to me this time, though, was pretty incredible.”

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