I wanted to wake up and it would be all fine.

by Siri Stevens

Last year, the Britt family, Jeff and Traci, and their sons, Tyler and Trey, headed home to Royal, Ark., following the short-go and awards ceremony at the IFYR. “We let the boys sleep in the trailer,” said Traci. “I got Tyler up the next morning at 6 for work and my husband and I left for work.” 18-year-old Tyler was headed to his job at the marina and fell asleep. He remembers nothing from that morning until Thanksgiving – four months later. “We got a call saying he was being med flighted to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and that’s where I spent the next 17 weeks.” Tyler had a punctured lung, broken ribs in the top part of his rib case, and traumatic brain injuries. “He had to learn to walk, talk, and do it all over again. I raised my baby from an infant stage back to 18 years old in a year.” The rehab included a 47 mile trip to therapy every day for two months.
“On January 1, he climbed on his horse and roped his first steer,” said Jeff. “There’s a lot of those days that we didn’t think he was going to be able to rope. The first time we put him on, he almost fell off, but we found a different horse and he was fine.”
He missed the fall semester of high school rodeo – he was going to rope with his brother – and they came back in the spring 16th in the state.” Tyler is in Shawnee at the IFYR as the Youth Director in the middle arena and is team roping with his brother. “I watch to make sure the right calf is loaded and the right person is running it,” he said. He was determined to rope again. “I’m not going to quit. It’s my life. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”
He also graduated with a 3.6. “With repetition he gets it,” said Traci. “Right now we are trying to mend our executive function and our ability to make those rash decisions He’s driving, but he has a fear of not making it to where he needs to be.” He plans to continue his goal of obtaining an agricultural engineering degree …. And roping. “I have to have patience and wait and take my time and do it right.”
Tyler can’t remember any of the accident, but he remembers a cold creek. “I get frustrated with myself millions of times. It’s different, when I used to be able to do it, and after the accident, couldn’t do it. One thing I have not forgotten is how to rope. Everything else I’ve had to restart.” His younger brother helped him with his roping.
“I took it day by day and I helped him learn how to swing a rope and do the right things over and over and get the muscle memory better and sharper,” said Trey. “The accident helped me come closer to the Lord and closer to my brother and help him. It’s made me grow up and be the bigger brother.”
Jeff and Traci admit that a lot of what they went through they learned as they went. “If we can help someone in this situation, it would be our gift go give back. Dealing with a brain injury is like no other,” said Traci. They are more than willing to share their information and assist others. “God has blessed us in the fact that I had my faith and when this accident happened, I had to rely on that and my family to get through it. It was very emotionally exhausting. God was my go-to. Still to this day that’s the only way we got through this.”

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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