Former Pro Rodeo Bull Rider and His Wife to Speak on Brain Injury Experience
The wonders of brain plasticity will be the focus of a presentation scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
As part of Brain Awareness Week, former professional bull rider Lee Akin and his wife, Mary, will share some of their experiences with a severe brain injury. Lee was at the top of his game until March 8, 2007, when his career came to a screeching halt when he was stepped on by a bull at a pro rodeo in Montgomery (AL).
The Akins will talk at 4 p.m. in Room 212 of the Old Science Building. Admission is free, and the public is invited to attend. The couple will discuss the severity of Lee’s brain injury, his recovery period and what life is like today for the Akin family and his amazing recovery from this devastating accident.
As explained by the Dana Foundation, the Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. The Akins’ visit to SWOSU is sponsored by the SWOSU Neuroscience division of the Department of Biological and the music therapy program of the Department of Music.
On March 8, 2007, Lee Akin, a SWOSU biology alum, sustained a direct hit to the side of his head and he suffered severe brain injuries. Prior to being injured, he was a College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) qualifier, National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier (three times) and Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Finals qualifier (five times). In addition, Lee was part of the U.S. Olympic Rodeo Team at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah and won the silver medal in bull riding.
Lee has appeared on MTV’s “Made”, NBC’s Extreme Make Over: Home Edition, the Carolyn Ray Show and was voted Oklahoma’s Most Eligible Bachelor by Cosmo Magazine. In 2007, Lee was awarded the Jim Thorpe Courage Award.
Mary Akin is owner of Pure Fit, a personal fitness business in Weatherford. She is an active participant in marathon races and will participate later this year in the “Tough Mudder” 10 mile bike race in Dallas. The Akins’ have one daughter, Jada.