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World champ O'Connell having tailbone removed; out 4 months

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Posted at 6:45 AM, Aug 24, 2021

(Editor's note: PRCA release)

COLORADO SPRINGS - Bareback rider Tim O'Connell's quest to win his fourth world title is on hold for the time being.

O'Connell confirmed to ProRodeo Sports News on Aug. 23 he will be sidelined the remainder of the regular season after suffering a tailbone injury in Lovington, N.M., Aug. 5.

The Zwingle, Iowa, bareback rider, a three-time PRCA World Champion (2016-18), talked to ProRodeo.com about the injury.

"It's something that's been hurting really bad the last couple of weeks," said O'Connell, 29. "I broke my tailbone or my coccyx to be exact. At first, we were going to try and go the adjustment route, but once my X-rays were out there, they decided it was something that probably needed to be removed."

O'Connell is first in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $156,056. He is set to undergo a coccygectomy (removal of the tailbone) surgery on Aug. 24 in Dallas.

"I was setup with one of the best and most trusted guys in the country to do this surgery and right here in Dallas," O'Connell said. "So, tomorrow morning (Aug. 24) Dr. Dossett is going to go in and remove my tailbone.

"It was one of those things that really couldn't wait, it became dangerous to not only my health in the sport but my overall health. It was something that had to be done, I really had no other option."

O'Connell said having surgery at this point will allow him to be competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo scheduled for Dec. 2-11 in Las Vegas.

"That's not really a goal, that's when I'm going to be back regardless," O'Connell said. "I'll be back for the opening round of the NFR. My plans haven't changed for winning a gold buckle this year. I'll have four months to take off, recover, get myself ready, and we can throw down in Vegas."