A foundation honouring the legacy of B.C. bull rider Ty Pozzobon is bringing concussion awareness to the forefront, one year after the star took his own life and shook his community of fans and family.
A post-mortem examination of Pozzobon’s brain revealed the 25-year-old from Merritt suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE – a controversial disease often caused by repetitive brain injuries, such as repeated concussions often discussed in contact sports like football and wrestling.
Pozzobon is the only confirmed case of CTE in a professional bull rider in North America, and since his death has turned a spotlight on one of the darker components of what’s often called the most dangerous sport.
The Ty Pozzobon Foundation, led by Saskatchewan bull rider Tanner Byrne, raises funds to ensure Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine teams are at all ProRodeo and PBR events across the country, as well as creating a concussion spotting team to be on site at competitions.
“We knew we wanted to all do something for Ty in his name to make a positive change in our sport,” Byrne said in a news release when the foundation was launched in February of last year. “Through Ty’s Foundation we can ensure his name, destiny and legacy live on in and out of the arena.”
Byrne, Pozzobon’s best friend and spokesperson for the foundation, said the work of the foundation will include educating youth and athletes about the impacts of concussions, including anxiety and depression.
“Ty loved people, this is our way of still doing that for him,” he said.