Rodeo Athlete’s Snow Skiing Injury is “Life Changing”

April 4, 2018

As a barrel racer, Baylee Oney knows how to navigate twists and turns. But in late December when her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was torn in a snow skiing accident, her life may have taken the biggest turn yet.

“The whole ordeal has been life-changing,” said Oney, 21, of Creighton, Missouri.

As a student and rodeo team member at Fort Scott Community College, Oney knew she had a challenging road ahead. She needed surgery, she needed to stay in school and she needed to recover from a serious injury before rodeo season kicked into high gear.

Fortunately all those “need tos” have fallen into place, plus she’s found her career calling through her physical therapy experience at Mercy Health for Life.

“I’ve never been a physical therapy patient before and this has opened my eyes to a whole new world where people help people in overcoming challenges,” Oney said. “All my life I’ve been physically active and have enjoyed working with people.”

“Through my therapy at Mercy Health for Life, I’ve personally experienced how being surrounded by encouraging, highly skilled and knowledgeable people is helping me recover and remain determined. The therapy team here has been so influential that I’ve been inspired to change my careers goals and become a physical therapy assistant.”

During Oney’s three months of physical therapy, she has been treated with the typical modalities used for ACL surgery rehab such as strengthen exercises, stretching, and Biodex testing, plus the Mercy therapy team has added aquatic therapy and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM), also known as the Graston technique.

“Baylee has benefitted from using aquatic therapy because water creates natural buoyancy that allows for therapy to be less stressful on her joints while increasing strength, flexibility and range of motion,” explained Denny Gillard, Mercy Health for Life director and physical therapist.

“The Graston technique is a soft-tissue massage that uses stainless steel instruments to break down scar tissue around the surgery site so Baylee has better mobility, plus her therapy is less painful and she can progress faster,” Gillard added. “The results are incredible.”

Oney is making excellent progress. She’s eager to get back on her horses and step into the next chapter of her life.

“I’ve learned that in a second, life can throw you a curve,” Oney said. “I’m not taking anything for granted. My experience has been great here at Mercy Health for Life, and I’m now focused on sharing the same with patients I’ll work with in the future.”

To learn more about Mercy Therapy Services, call 620-223-7073.


Baylee Oney suffered an ACL tear while snow skiing in December. Not only is she on pace to participate in the upcoming rodeo season, she's been inspired to make physical therapy her career.

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