A Facebook post asking for prayers for the family of Lexi Liles, who was injured in a rodeo accident in Fort Worth over the weekend. Facebook screenshot
A Facebook post asking for prayers for the family of Lexi Liles, who was injured in a rodeo accident in Fort Worth over the weekend. Facebook screenshot

Fort Worth

Teen critically injured at Fort Worth high school rodeo event

September 21, 2017 09:02 AM

UPDATED September 21, 2017 09:58 PM

FORT WORTH

A Peaster teenager was critically injured at a high school rodeo competition in north Fort Worth over the weekend.

The accident happened Sunday afternoon at the North Texas High School Rodeo Association arena on Windy Ryon Way, near North Main Street and Northwest Loop 820.

Lexi Liles was riding her horse in a steer undressing event, in which she was trying to pull the ribbon off of a running steer.

Toward the end of the arena, the steer turned and clipped her horse, causing it to throw her and fall, according to a witness.

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The horse appeared to roll on Liles, who was knocked unconscious, before it hopped back up.

Two paramedics staffing the rodeo provided emergency care and Liles was taken to the hospital.

MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky confirmed that an ambulance took a female patient with serious injuries from the rodeo arena to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

Liles was not wearing a helmet. Rodeo contestants have the option to wear either a cowboy hat or a helmet during competition, according to the association’s rulebook.

The rules also require contestants’ parents to sign a release granting permission to participate in the events.

Officials with the association declined to comment on the accident, citing federal privacy law. But on Facebook, the association posted that “one of our NT members sustained critical injuries” during the event.

The association asked competitors to wear a turquoise ribbon — Liles’ favorite color — in support of her at a rodeo in Ponder this weekend.

Liles’ family declined to comment on the accident.

Other supporters of Liles were sharing an update from her family on Facebook early in the week. The update said Liles suffered “head trauma” and that a CT scan showed signs of swelling.

“The doctors informed us that at this point it is a waiting game,” the update said.

The association, which began in the early 1970s, offers 26 rodeos plus a championship throughout the school year. Most of the shows, normally over a three-day weekend, are at the association’s arena.

Unlike programs such as football and basketball, rodeo is not sanctioned through the University Interscholastic League, the state’s governing body for high school sports.

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Unlike football and other sanctioned high school sports, parents cover all costs, and they enjoy the family time with their kids.

Joyce Marshall jlmarshall@star-telegram.com