Former Bronco David Bruton Jr. goes from football helmet to cycling helmet

Outdoor Colorado

Broncos fans are used to seeing David Bruton Jr. in pads, but these days, you’ll find him cycling. (KDVR)

PARKER, Colo. (KDVR) — Broncos fans are used to seeing David Bruton Jr. in football gear, but these days you’ll find him in a different kind of helmet.

“I got into riding (road bikes) while I was still here with the Broncos,” said Bruton, who was the special teams captain for the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 championship team. “I rode to condition my legs and to get some of that soreness out postgame.”

Now he pedals to stay in shape, averaging upwards of 150 miles a week. But these workouts are also a way to keep the competitive juices flowing — “especially if I see somebody on the trail and I try to set a goal to get up to their tail and pass them at some point and time,” Bruton said with a smile.

Bruton completed a 100-mile bike race in August. His crowning achievement was twice conquering Colorado’s famed Copper Trail, a grueling 79-mile loop that includes three mountain passes and a total elevation gain of 6,500 feet.

“That ride is tough. That’s a lot of climbing. There’s no real warmup. Once you get onto the bike, you’re climbing up the hill from Copper up to Leadville,” Bruton said.

With football behind him, Bruton said he’s never been busier, but he’s not just spinning his wheels. 

Since retiring five years ago, he has been working toward a doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He used cycling to get him through the coursework.

“There’s this direct correlation between aerobic fitness and retaining knowledge. I feel that this is beneficial for me,” Bruton said. “Hopefully this will help me recall some of the information that got lost in the wayside.”

After passing the National Physical Therapy Exam, the 34-year-old hopes to open his own private practice. It’s a good bet that biking will be part of patient rehabilitation and the road to recovery.

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