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(Posted 4 JULY 2007)
Shibahara on the Injury of Lee Akin

After suffering serious injury in March, Lee Akin is now on his way to recovery in an Oklahoma hospital.  The first time I met him was in 2001 at a rodeo in Ventura, California, I think.  I was still working at the Flying U at the time and so of course he was riding in the rodeo but I was not.  He wasn't all that tall but had a tight build typical of black people and I remember being impressed with how different a professional bull rider looked.  He was a quiet man and didn't seem to engage too much in conversation.  I don't know if he made it to the NFR that year, but he certainly was showing his potential to.

I recall at one point he was selected as one of the sexiest bachelors by Vanity Fair or some other woman's magazine, but he was an educated man who had majored in biology or something of the like, and was completely void of any pretension.  I was watching a copy of a National Geographic episode the other day I hadn't watched in a while, and he was on there talking about the theory behind riding bulls.  To be able to put into words such a sports theory in a way that anyone can understand just goes to prove how intelligent the man is.

Injuries are an integral part of this sport, and whether armature or world class pro, regardless of who you are, injuries will happen.  Whether PRCA or PBR, those who are good enough to be in the world standings have had at least one or two surgeries, and if you were to take a full-body x-ray of them, you would be sure to see various metal plates, screws and bolts in the picture.  Head injuries such as Lee's are not uncommon either.  Last year when I was riding in a rodeo in Cody, Wyoming, an 18 year old kid who was riding with a helmet got stepped on his head and was taken to the hospital.  His helmet was split in two, and everyone there was surely thinking of what would have happened had he not been wearing it.  Fortunately, he came back to the arena about a week later no worse for the wear, saying "I'm gon'na take a break, but I'll be back."Lee's injury is a lot more serious, of course, but I believe he'll be back.  I have nothing to base this belief on.  It's just it seems to me the toughness he showed that led him to the NFR and the PBR World Finals will directly convert to a will to live.All I can do is not just pray, but, believe in him.

Jin'Ichiro Shibahara

(Posted 15 MAY 2007)
Update: Lee Akin relocates to Oklahoma City Hospital

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 10, 2007) - Lee Akin was transferred by Airvac to an Oklahoma City hospital Monday, May 7 where he will proceed with rehabilitation. Previously, Akin was moved from the intensive care unit at Baptist Medical Center South in Montgomery, Ala., Tuesday, May 1. Lee continues to breathe on his own and show further signs of improvement by holding his head up and making movements on both sides of his body.

So far, Lee has undergone two successful surgeries to relieve swelling of his brain since his accident, which occurred on March 8, 2007, when a bull stepped on his head following a ride at a PRCA event in Montgomery during the Southeastern Livestock Exposition and Rodeo.

*Editor's Note: Lee is from Oklahoma, and the move to a hospital there would greatly relieve the stress placed on his family who is caring for him.  Not having to worry about his family will certainly allow Lee to focus solely on his rehabilitation as well.

All of us here at Real Western pray for the continued recovery of Lee Akin, and will post new information as it becomes available.

(Posted 24 MAR 2007)

While still being kept in a coma, Lee is off of the respirator during the day and breathing on his own. They are putting him back on it at night to give his body a rest, but he is off of it during the day. Baby steps, but wefll take them. Keep praying! (From

Lee Akin Seriously Injured in Montgomery, Alabama

(Posted 28 MAR 2007)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 20, 2007) - On Thursday evening, March 8, 2007, PBR bull rider, Lee Akin (Weatherford, Okla.) was severely injured during a PRCA event in Montgomery, Alabama when a bull stepped on his head following his ride. He was treated at the scene and taken to Baptist South hospital's intensive care unit for further examination, where doctors determined he had a traumatic brain injury. He underwent successful neurosurgery and is currently in an induced coma in the critical care unit in critical condition. An induced coma with this severe of an injury is very common and it allows the body to relax and recover more quickly.

A more complete CAT Scan was performed on Monday, March 19 to assess the amount of healing. There was a small reduction in the size of the blood clot and the swelling of the brain. The neurosurgeons will continue to monitor Lee's condition closely. (From PBR News Release)

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