Spanish matador out of danger after horror injury

10th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spanish matador Juan Jose Padilla was out of danger Monday three days after a fighting bull's horn skewered his eye socket in a horrific injury, a hospital official said.

The 38-year-old bullfighter plunged two banderillas -- sharp, barbed sticks -- into the back of a half-tonne bull in Friday's fight in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain but then slipped over in the sand.

Immediately the enraged bull lowered its head and 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.

The force of the blow dragged the matador about half a body-length across the bullring.

Padilla, dressed in a gold and pink traditional "suit of lights", then stood clutching the wound as blood poured from his face. He began to collapse as fellow matadors supported him out of the ring.

He was raced to intensive care at the Miguel Servet Hospital where doctors performed a five-hour operation.

Later, the hospital said the left hand side of his face had been paralysed and the left optic nerve severely damaged, meaning likely blindness in that eye.

"His progress is favourable but the prognosis is serious," a hospital official Monday, speaking on condition of not being identified.

"He is still in intensive care although it is expected he could go to the general ward today or tomorrow. But we still have to wait for the results of tests they are doing," the official said.

"He is conscious," the source added. "The doctors said his progress overall was fairly favourable but they were pretty pessimistic about the chances of recovering vision in his damaged eye."

From his hospital bed, Padilla vowed to carry on fighting even though he was almost certainly blind in one eye.

The bull "was wily, I knew he was going to catch me," he told visiting friends and family, according to the specialist website mundotoro.

Padilla told his agent: "Get two bulls ready for me because this is not stoppijng here. I will leave the bullfight when I want to," according to the website.

The injured fighter reportedly told visitors: "Padilla will be here for a while."

© 2011 AFP

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