Dr. J. Pat Evans, a founder of the Justin Sportsmedicine Program, inductee into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (2004) passed away July 22 at 88 years of age.
I rode bulls professionally for 15 years. I have had nine different surgeries in my life, and none were performed by J. Pat or Tandy. However, every surgeon I’ve ever had is because J. Pat or Tandy selected them because they were the very best in their field. I am 56 years old and I am often asked if I’m in pain when I get out of bed in the morning. They are always surprised when I say no I am not; I feel good. I’m sure if I had not had the support and help of Dr. J. Pat Evans, Dr. Tandy Freeman and the Justin Sportsmedicine Team my answer would be different.
J Pat’s commitment as a physician and friend was a game changer.
J Pat’s choice to care for rodeo cowboys changed all of our lives. Simply put, before Dr. J Pat Evans sports medicine and competent physicians at rodeos were pretty much nonexistent. He left the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks as a team doctor to take care of rodeo cowboys and helped create the Justin Sportsmedicine program. He was a man of great compassion and a true friend. It did not matter if you were a permit holder or world champion, he made sure that you were taken care of regards to finances.
Early in my career I was stepped on in Vernal, Utah and I called J. Pat around midnight. He was at the Dallas Cowboy training camp in Thousand Oaks, California and told me to get on the first flight to LA. I got there mid-morning and he was conducting a physical on a player as I walked in the room and told the player to “get lost” for a while and he treated me.
In 1991 I would not have been able to finish the week let alone compete for the world championship if it wasn’t for J. Pat, Dr. Tandy Freeman and the Sportsmedicine team. I hung my foot leaving the chute and severely sprained my ankle. I was sure that it was broken, because of the pain and I could put no weight on it. An early x-ray the next morning showed just a severe sprain. I spent all day in the training room icing, stretching and trying not to cry. An hour before the performance J Pat told me to look the other way while he worked on my ankle. I peeked and saw the biggest syringe and the longest needle I’d ever seen. I bit my lip and tried not to pass out. An hour later it was taped, and Justin Boots had brought me lace up boots three sizes bigger to wear, because of the swelling and tape. When I left the training room I barely limped. I got on my re-ride from the night before, the flank came off, so I got another re-ride. I ended up getting on three bulls that night, riding two. The next night I scored a 91 which was the highest score of the week and went on to win my third world championship two days later.
Additional story on link available http://www.prorodeo.com/news-display/2019/07/23/dr.-j.-pat-evans-co-founder-of-justin-sportsmedicine-passes-away
Photo by Sue Rosoff