January 10, 2017 1:31 pm
Updated: January 10, 2017 10:21 pm

Family of young rodeo star Ty Pozzobon raises concussion concerns following his death

WATCH ABOVE: Those who knew 25-year-old Ty Pozzobon in southern Alberta took him under their wing. As Jill Croteau reports, they are still in disbelief.

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The family of a 25-year-old Canadian bull riding champion, who died suddenly Monday, is warning about the dangers of concussions in the wake of his death.

“It’s important that people know about the implications of head injuries as a result of concussions,” Ty Pozzobon’s mother – Leanne – said in a statement.

The statement makes no other reference to the cause of his death and an official cause of death has not been released.

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The B.C. Coroners Service said Pozzobon was found unresponsive at his home on Monday morning. The investigation continues, but his death has been determined “non-suspicious in nature.”

The family’s statement said Pozzobon lived 25 kilometres west of Merritt, B.C.

Close friends and Canadians in the rodeo and bull-riding community are mourning the loss of the young bull rider.

“Somebody like Ty, when they come along in any sport it’s like the Sidney Crosbys of hockey,” close friend and former bull fighter Kynan Vine told Global’s Jill Croteau. “He’s one of the protégées, one of the greats there was going to be in rodeo…

“He was there to win in any sport and in life, you get behind that passion. It was so easy to be drawn to him.”

WATCH: A video tribute of Ty Pozzobon was circulating on social media amongst family, friends and fans. Credit: Randy Quartieri

Pozzobon was the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) 2016 Canada champion, a three-time qualifier at the Canadian Finals Rodeo and a four-time PBR world finalist.

“Anybody that spent time in rodeo, one day you’re a champion, the next day you’re sitting down with a blown-out knee to a broken back and those lows are hard to deal with,” Vine said. “In Ty’s case, he always had a smile on his face…He won a lot but had a lot of injuries and battled through them.”

Another friend and bull rider said there’s been a sense of disbelief about Pozzobon’s death, but added he wouldn’t want people “moping” about it.

“He didn’t have an enemy in the world,” Tanner Girletz said. “He’s the greatest bull rider Canada has seen in a really long time. This was his year to make a push to win the World.

“I’ve been around rodeo my whole life and rode for the last 15 years as hard as I can. I am at the end of my road, Ty was just starting his…he accomplished more in the last year than I have in the last 15.”

A statement on the Pro Rodeo Canada website called Pozzobon “a talent that comes along very seldom in any sport.”

“And while all of us mourn the loss of one of our sport’s brightest stars, we are painfully aware that we have also lost one of the truly genuine people in this or any sport.

“The ever-ready Pozzy grin, the endless love and devotion to family and friends, his ability to pick up the spirits of those around him—those are special talents—as great, and maybe even greater, than his superstar ability to ride the rankest bulls in the industry.”

Watch below: Video showing Ty Pozzobon at a bull riding event

While Pozzobon was from B.C., he was well known in the Alberta bull-riding community.

Fellow bull rider Tyler Thomson said Pozzobon lived with him for a while.

“I had a little girl at home that loved him,” Thomson said. “I told her last night and broke her heart.

“Ty would have been a great family man. I haven’t had time to think about that for him. He was taken too young and will be missed a lot.”

Last Tuesday, Pozzobon had shared a photo from Alpha Bull on Facebook. The production/promotion company wrote:

“Help us welcome Canadian Champion Ty Pozzobon to Team Alpha Bull. We believe he will be a contender for a PBR World title in 2017.”

Albertan bull rider Chad Besplug is president of Alpha Bull. He said everyone was drawn to Pozzobon.

“We were joking around…in 30 years when we’re old men we can sit around and see what we’ve built and smile and laugh,” he told Global News. “I had big plans to spend the rest of my life hanging out with him. It’s something that will never feel better.”

Along with Pozzobon’s many other accomplishments, his parents – Luke and Leanne Pozzobon – highlighted an annual event held in his name.

“From 2013 to 2015, the Pozzobon family hosted the Ty Pozzobon Invitational bull-riding event in Merritt… (which) attracted some of the world’s top cowboys,” the statement sent on their behalf read.

Funeral arrangements were being made for Pozzobon, who left behind his wife, Jayd.

The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Rider Relief Fund.

With interviews from Global’s Jill Croteau

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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