A teenage bullrider from North Queensland is out of hospital and recovering after his left thumb was amputated by a bull kick.
Riley Schmidt and his family left Queensland Children's Hospital in Brisbane on Thursday after almost two weeks and multiple surgeries which failed to reattach the digit.
He will now spend his 14th birthday on Friday travelling back to Brisbane for further medical advice.
"We're just having a little bit of recuperation at home and then back at it again," his mother Christina Schmidt said.
"He's a very resilient kid, but as you can imagine, it's been a pretty big thing for him. Any kid, even a resilient one, is going to struggle.
"I'll never understand what he's going through. He's the only one that knows what's going on.
"It's been a big two weeks. That's all I can say."
Riley was practising at a friend's house at Woodstock near Townsville on February 11 when the accident happened.
"He was in the arena trying to help by distracting the bull and the bull came towards him and he jumped the fence and his thumb was on the top rail and by a million to one chance the bull kicked out and squished his thumb off," Ms Schmidt said.
Riley, a student from Blackheath & Thornburgh College in Charters Towers, was taken to hospital in Townsville, and within an hour, medical staff decided to fly them to Brisbane.
He was admitted to Queensland Children's Hospital at 1am on the Saturday and immediately had surgery to try to reattach the digit.
"He had two major surgeries straight up - 10 hours and seven hours - and then they rushed him back in for an emergency surgery just because it looked like the thumb was not doing what it should be," Ms Schmidt said.
"After that, they said, 'Look, we're not going to do any more heroics. We're going to see what it's going to do', and then it declared itself as not being viable and they took it off."
Riley will now spend the next couple of months talking about reconstruction options with specialists.
"It's very vague at the moment. They're talking about taking some bone from his pelvis and attaching that to his thumb, and then potentially taking some of the flesh off his big toe and building that into a thumb," Ms Schmidt said.
"Or switching his thumb and pointer finger. So putting his pointer finger where his thumb once was and leaving him with a little stump on his pointer finger.
"There's some very wild options, but these surgeons are top of their field, so we're just listening. That won't be for a couple of months.
"They'll let him choose once he is mentally over the trauma of losing it."
The family says it has been overwhelmed by messages of support and donations.
US PBR rider Thor Hoefer, who met Riley at rodeo in Townsville in 2018, filmed a video for him.
"Effort and attitude partner - that's all you have control of," Hoefer said.
"Just keep a good mindset and know that you've got a bunch of bullriders behind you. Just keep the faith and keep moving forward every day and trust the process. Sending you good wishes and blessings my friend."
Ms Schmidt said the rodeo scene was a tight-knit community.
"It's a pretty big family, this rodeo bull riding family. They stick together," she said.
Donations for Riley's recovery can be made at GoFundMe.
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