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Study reveals study alarming rates of paediatric TBI from mechanical bull riding



New research has shed light on the alarming rates of paediatric traumatic brain injuries resulting from mechanical bull riding.

The study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University Children’s Health (LLUCH) highlights the urgent need for enhanced safety measures and regulations.

The findings were published in the journal Children’s Health Care and revealed that mechanical bull riding poses a significant risk to children, with traumatic brain injuries being the most common outcome.


LLUCH has identified up to 35 cases over seven years, each resulting in severe injuries. Over 65 per cent of these cases involved severe brain injuries, and more than half of all children required immediate surgical intervention.

“Our study, one of the largest examining mechanical bull riding injuries in children, reveals that most injuries occur at private events where mechanical bulls are rented from vendors,” said Sina Asaadi, MD, MBA, a research fellow and lead author of the study.

“This suggests that the actual number of injuries may be higher than reported, indicating potential underreporting.”

Long-term consequences of brain injuries include memory issues, severe headaches, nausea, seizures, and possible learning disabilities, to name a few.

Rehabilitation for these patients is intensive, involving physical, occupational, and speech therapies, sometimes extending over months and years.

Martin G. Rosenthal, MD, assistant professor of surgery at LLUCH and corresponding author of the study, said: “Mechanical bulls, even when advertised as ‘children friendly’ are far from safe and are a real public health concern.

“Several other studies from southern California have reported similar findings and there appears to be a proclivity of these injuries occurring in our own backyard.”