Gored Spanish bullfighter vows to return to ring

19th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish matador Juan Jose Padilla left hospital Wednesday and vowed to return to the ring despite a horrific injury in which a fighting bull's horn skewered his eye socket.

Just 12 days earlier, he slipped in front of an enraged bull in a bullring in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain, after piercing the beast's back with two sharp, barbed "banderillas".

Watched by shocked crowds, the bull plunged a sharp, curved horn through the left side of the sprawling bullfighter's upper jaw and out through the left eye socket, forcing the eye to bulge outwards.

In a news conference at Zaragoza's Miguel Servet Hospital where he had been cared for, the 38-year-old matador appeared in a wheelchair with his left eye closed and the left side of his face apparently immobile.

Paradilla, who seemed to have to make an effort to swallow, said he would cancel bullfighting engagements in Latin America this November but promised to enter the ring again.

"The bull has given me much grandeur. I have achieved many victories. And this for me was an accident," he said.

"Without rancour for my profession or the bull, I will put on the bullfighter's clothes again because that is how it is written in this profession. And because, God willing, I am going to recover."

Padilla thanked the Zaragoza bullring's surgeon for saving him because "I did not have much life left".

The bullfighter said he would work to recover vision in the damaged eye.

The hospital's head of opthamology, Luis Pablo, told reporters the prognosis for the damaged eye "is not good" because of damage to the optic nerve "but in medicine you never know, and miracles happen."

© 2011 AFP

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