Bereft Father Sues Rodeo Over Teen Daughter’s Death

Brandon, FL – During an amateur bull riding event at the Crosstown Arena on February 18, 2011, 16-year-old Brooke Ann Coats was thrown from the animal and fatally kicked in the chest. Brooke managed to walk herself out of the arena but died 90 minutes later from her injuries. Brooke’s devastated family was present and witnessed the accident.

Brooke’s parents, Keith and Susan Coats, have since filed a negligence lawsuit against the rodeo sponsoring the event two years to the day of her death. The statute of limitations for wrongful death suits in Florida is two years.

The suit has been filed against 18 defendants, naming Corey Costa and Remington Rough Stock as culpable parties. Leading up to Brooke’s unfortunate death, she’d been riding for about a year as a hobby. She’d worn all of the appropriate, required safety gear, and her parents signed off on a waiver allowing her to compete.

The Coats family cites an overall negligence in both assigning Brooke an “aggressive bull above her skill level” though she’d ridden similar 900 pound bulls multiple times before, and failing to provide adequate emergency personnel at the arena.

After Brooke was thrown and kicked, it took at least 15 to 20 minutes before an ambulance was alerted, reports the Daily Mail. Brooke collapsed and was eventually taken to Tampa General Hospital, where she died later in surgery. The kick had caused massive internal bleeding from a lacerated liver. Perhaps had medical personnel been on the scene immediately following the accident, Brooke may have survived.

The rodeo sport of riding bulls is considered “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.” Based on American tradition, the rider sits atop a bull without a saddle and only a braided rope tethered to the animal to cling to. The rider must remain on the animal for at least eight seconds as it violently bucks.

[Image via Ron Hilton /]