There’s a new nonprofit in town structured to provide comprehensive wellness support and expanded benefits to all western sports athletes. Formerly the Rider Relief Fund that provided financial support to injured bull riders and bull fighters, the Western Sports Foundation (WSF) is the first program to provide a full range of resources and services for life beyond a career in western sports. It is based on five areas of Wellness: Mental, Physical, Life Skills, Financial, and Education & Career Planning. Athletes will have access to a host of new resources in these areas, including neurological services, brain trauma education, access to counseling and special programs and assistance in preparing for their future beyond the sport.
“As western sports have grown, we need to offer more services for the athletes. Western Sports Foundation will continue to provide financial assistance to injured athletes while significantly expanding to total wellness,” said Jake West, executive director of WSF.
In addition to PBR’s multi-million dollar contribution over the next five years, which will ensure service coverage for its members, WSF will solicit other sports organizations and engage in additional fund-raising activities to ensure full services covering participants in rodeo and other western sports.
“Rider health and safety have been, are, and will always be paramount to PBR,” said Sean Gleason, CEO, Professional Bull Riders (PBR), which is the driving force and a significant financial contributor to the WSF. “Using our network of experts and partners, we are proud to help launch this pioneering program in western sports. At no cost to them,our athletes will have access to experts and resources to help with healthcare, life skills and preparing for the future.”
The WSF will continue to offer the Rider Relief Fund’s traditional financial support to all injured western sports athletes. The new services will be initially offered to PBR athletes. There is no premium or deductible for the programs provided. With additional support and funding, these services will soon be available to all western sports athletes.