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Is DeCoteau a case for bull riders wearing helmets?

Camren DeCoteau

Camren DeCoteau was lucky because of his own decisions.

Though every bull rider in the North Dakota High School Rodeo Association does it, bull riders are not required to wear helmets at any level of rodeo.

The National High School Rodeo Association requires bull riders to wear a protective vest and athletic mouthpiece.

But in the NHSRA's 2011-12 year rulebook, only one reference is made to helmets. Rule No. 24 under the General Rules for Contestants states: "Helmets may be worn in lieu of western hats while in competition."

Lori Fredericks said cowboys in roughstock events, especially bull riding, should look to her son as an example of how wearing a helmet could one day save their lives.

Fredericks said her son had a visitor in the hospital following his injury, a fellow bull rider from a southern state who told her he had no intentions of ever wearing a helmet during competition, even after he watched what happened to DeCoteau.

She couldn't believe what she heard.

"The Justin Sports Medicine team that tended to him said that if he wouldn't have had that helmet on, or that (protective) vest, we don't know what would have happened to him," Fredericks said.

Dustin Monke

Monke came to The Dickinson Press in July 2006 as the newspaper's sports editor and was hired as its managing editor in March 2013. During his tenure at The Press, Monke has won multiple awards for sports reporting, feature reporting, column writing, page design and photography. He was a key part of The Press winning the North Dakota Newspaper Association's General Excellence and Sweepstakes awards in 2009 and 2012, and oversaw The Press' Sweepstakes and General Excellence wins in 2014, as well as its national first-place honors for Community Leadership in the Inland Daily Press Association and contributed to the first-place Inland award for Investigative Reporting. As the newspaper's editor, he writes an occasional Sunday column, is a member of The Press' Editorial Board, contributes feature stories and breaking news, designs pages, and oversees the day-to-day operations of the newsroom and editorial staff. In his free time, he enjoys watching sports and action movies, exercises whenever his schedule allows, and spends every minute he can with his wife and son.

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