COLORADO SPRINGS - Stevensville bareback rider Richmond Champion has announced on social media that his PRCA season is over after suffering a severe neck injury.
The seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier underwent a cervical fusion on Friday in Austin, Texas.
“The surgery went great, and I have to be immobile for a month and then slowly get back going doing stuff,” Champion announced. “They say it is like six months when they release you to live life normally. I’m obviously in no rush to get back at that point, so I’m just going to wait until January of 2023.”
Champion said results of a recent MRI showed he had a severely bulged disc in his neck that was compressing his spinal cord. He had been dealing with a sore neck and shoulders since the end of last season, but at the time chalked it up to normal rodeo wear and tear.
“In my sport, that (soreness) is nothing out of the ordinary,” Champion said. “I had the SportsMed team in San Antonio run a few strength tests on me and they told me I was pretty weak in a lot of areas that I shouldn’t be.
"They wanted to get an MRI. I got the MRI (the second week of March) and it is showed a disc between my C3 and C4 (vertebrae) where I had a problem. Like I said, the surgery went great and a full recovery is expected.”
Champion finished eighth in last season's PRCA | RAM World Standings with $188,739. He earned $89,793 of that at December's 2021 Wrangler NFR in Las Vegas.
(Information contributed by PRCA)