Rodeo champion Troy Cross will be in Wollongong soon to ride bulls to raise thousands for organ transplants, but he it wasn't long ago he was needing some intense medical care himself.
In 2016 Cross suffered a significant head injury when thrown from a bull at Warwick in Queensland, and it took the best medical care to get him through.
Cross will be one of the riders competing for tens of thousands of dollars in prizemoney at the WIN Entertainment Centre in July for the Rodeo 4 Life - raising money for organ machine perfusion work at RPA Hospital in Sydney.
"Usually the doctors are helping us out, but a good way to return the favour is to raise some funds to help them out," he said.
"[In 2016] it got pretty critical - I had two haematomas on each side of my head. It was from the impact with the ground, or the bull - I don't really remember. It took a while for me to get back after that."
Organ perfusion work refers to relatively new techniques that can keep an organ alive for up to seven days, and allow previously unsuitable organs to be "reconditioned" for use in needy recipients, RPA transplantation business manager Nick Koutalistras said.
"Under previous conditions they wouldn't be transplantable, because of problems they've had through the retrieval process, or past history of the donor," he said.
With transplant waiting times growing significantly in recent years, this would help save more lives, he said.
Doug Vickers, who founded the charity rodeo after receiving a transplant five years ago, has made this his passion project.
"There's so many people waiting for transplants," he said. "We just hope with the money we get we can shorten that process and save a lot more lives."
Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said he would ensure the bulls were treated well.
"This is not a free-for-all but an event of respect and love, both for the animals and the riders."
The Rodeo 4 Life is on July 24 at the WIN Entertainment Centre. Tickets on sale through Ticketmaster.
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