One of the most important phone calls for a mother of a cowboy, without a doubt, is the call after her son has just climbed down on a 2,000 pound bull to let her know he is safe. No matter how many years he has been riding bulls, the love of a mother and the concern for his safety never gets any easier. But what if one day that call that lets you breathe a sigh of relief…never comes.
Australian rodeo mom, Debbie Robb, wasn’t surprised when her son, Jordan Lane, said he wanted to ride bulls; her whole family had grown up around horses and rodeos. “My dad used to ride steers and broncs and Jordan always wanted to be the world’s best bull rider. I was so proud of him”, said Debbie. Like any mother, at times she may have wished he’d slow down a little but she knew she didn’t have a chance in the world; riding bulls was his life.
Not surprising, Jordan couldn’t wait until he was 18 years old so he could ride without a helmet and travel the rodeo circuit with his mates. “No matter how much he loved riding bulls, he always made it a priority to finish his schooling and was in his third year of his trade as a boilermaker.” In fact, his dream was to finish his trade, move to America and ride bulls; a dream that was shattered one unforgettable day in November 2014.
“I’d spoken to Jordan before his ride, like I did every rodeo and he’d always make it a priority to call me afterwards. That day my phone was silent,” remembers Debbie. As Debbie was leaving a friend’s house that afternoon her oldest son, Mitchell, called to see if she had heard from Jordan. “Mitchell told me Jordan had been hurt but didn’t know how bad it was. As I arrived home Jordan’s mates were there and I remember thinking how strange it was that they were all there.”
As Debbie got out of the car Jordan’s friends broke the news that no mother ever wants to, or deserves, to hear. “I guess your automatic response when someone tells you that your son is injured is that he’ll be alright. Jordan is tough, I had no doubt that he would be alright.” But as Jordan’s friend, Tom, began to break the news to Debbie, the world around her came crashing down. “Tom said ‘no Deb he can’t feel his arms or legs.’ I just broke down crying. ”
After ringing the hospital, it was confirmed Jordan had cracked two vertebrae’s in his neck and they were waiting on a helicopter to transport him to Sydney, Australia. “It all seems like a blur now. My two best friends helped me pack a back for Jordan and myself and we left at 12.30am that night. The doctor called asking permission to operate while we were driving.” However, what came next changed their lives forever.
The doctors explained to Debbie that Jordan would never walk or move again; they didn’t even know how he was alive and breathing on his own with no brain damage. “They told me it was a miracle on its own he was breathing. With his spinal cord crushed by his C4 & C5 they said it was the worst they had ever seen.” Almost five months later and Jordan has been moved to a rehab facility and although the doctors were hoping his body may have healed a little more, Jordan is already moving his right arm and doing aqua therapy.
“I still can’t get my head around it; I’m not sure I ever will. I don’t sleep much at all and keep thinking that it’s all a bad dream and I’m going to wake up from it.” Understandably, both Jordan and Debbie have good and bad days but Debbie stays positive and knows she still has her baby boy; still full of cheek like always. “He is so strong and people ask how does he handle it but it’s that strength that keeps him going.”
Through all this Debbie emphasizes how important it is to tell your children you love them, as you will never know what will happen. “My advice would be to not wrap your children in cotton wool; let them live their life. We will never know how long we will be around and Jordan lived every day to the fullest like it was his last. He has been more places than I ever have and I just think how lucky I am to still have my son, still Jordan, he can’t move but I get to see him more now,” smiled Debbie.
Although his dream of being a World Champion bull rider may be on the shelf right now, Jordan now plans on breeding bulls. “He still loves the sport. I tell him how I just wish I could take his place so he could live his dream but he smiles and say I wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
While she misses their chats on the phone and text messages, Debbie is just thankful she still has her baby boy. “I still cry but try not to around Jordan; he gets upset too much. The outpouring of love and support from all around the world has been overwhelming and encouraging. We will get through this…together.”