bull-ridingFriday evening 16-year-old Brooke Ann Coatswas competing in a rodeo in Tampa, Florida.  During the bull-riding competition she was thrown, and the animal kicked her in the chest. She managed to get up and walk out of the arena, but 90 minutes later she was dead.

The images of the vibrant teenage and  news of her senseless death are heartbreaking. I think of her parents who gave her permission to participate in this dangerous sport, and are now going to have to live with their guilt and without  their daughter for the rest of their lives. If there is any good to come from this tragic event it has to be to highlight the real dangers of this cruel and unpredictable sport, and perhaps save others from a similar fate.

Extreme sports are one thing, and I'd never try to intervene if my children wanted to go rock climbing, or sky diving, or try any other sport of endurance, even if there were risks. But rodeos are a whole other "animal" because they involve animals -- animals that are unpredictable and powerful and can potentially kill -- especially when provoked.