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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Some people never learn: Blinded and battered bullfighter vows to return to ring in first public appearance since horrific goring

-Juan Jose Padilla makes pledge just six days after crucial operation to repair paralysed face
-Says it's his dream to put on matador's uniform again and insists he does not want pity from fans over his ordeal
-WARNING: Graphic video

By Simon Tomlinson

A Spanish matador blinded in one eye after being gored during a bullfight today vowed to do the 'unspeakable' and return to the ring as he made his first public appearance since the horrific incident.

Juan Jose Padilla was speaking at a press conference just six days after undergoing a crucial operation to repair nerve damage in the left side of his face, which was left paralysed in the attack.

Bearing scars next to his jaw and left eye where he was pierced by the bull's horn, he said it was his dream to don the famous uniform once again and insisted he did not want pity.

'I do not want the fans to feel sorry for (me),' he told media at Virgen del Rocio hospital in southern Seville before returning home.

'I will fight again dressed as a bullfighter because this is my dream to meet the fans,' he added before referring to the motto 'Strength Padilla' which have flooded social networks in recent weeks.

The crowds at the Zaragoza's Fiestas Del Pilar bullfight at the Misericordia ring were left stunned when the bull's horn pierced his jaw and emerged through his left eye socket in October.

With blood gushing from his head, he was helped out of the ring screaming 'I can't see, I can't see'.

He then underwent a life-saving five-hour operation to repair severe damage to his eye, bone, muscle and skin.

He said he was feeling better than three weeks ago and was 'very excited' about his recovery following his treatment under the direction of maxillofacial surgeon Alberto Garcia Perla.

Gored: The bull's horn pierced Mr Padilla's jaw and emerged through his left eye socket after his fight went horribly wrong in the northeastern city of Zaragoza's Fiestas Del Pilar

The operation Mr Padilla underwent last Tuesday aims to rebuild the facial nerve severed in the goring which left him with difficulties swallowing and talking.

Mr Padilla will face a long rehabilitation process that will begin in a couple of weeks at a recovery centre.

It is hoped the operation will recover around 80per cent mobility in his face.

Mr Padilla said: 'I want to thank the Hospital Virgen del Rocio and the entire medical team for giving me the opportunity to return to normal life and giving me the hope of returning to the arena.'

Dream: Mr Padilla stressed his desire to return to bullfighting once he has sufficiently recovered while giving a press conference at the Virgen del Rocio Hospital

Support: Mr Padilla gets a kiss from his mum as he leaves hospital with his girlfriend, Lidia. He will spent some time at home before going into rehabilitation at a medical centre

Hope: Mr Padilla is confident he will recover enough to go back into the ring to face bulls again

Accompanied by his wife, Lidia, his parents and his attorney, Taurine SanlĂșcar Diego Robles, Padilla was given a standing ovation before moving to his home in Sanlucar de Barrameda in Cadiz.

It is not the first time Padilla, 38, a popular matador who has won many fans for his courage and willingness to face the toughest bulls, has been gored.

In 2001 the Jerez native suffered serious injuries to his neck during a fight in Pamplona.

The bull, called Marques and from the Ana Romero ranch, quickly took its revenge after Padilla slipped and fell in the sand after the placing of the banderillas (barbed sticks).

Grateful: Mr Padilla (third right) with the medical team who he thanked for enabling him to return to a normal life

Indebted: The matador embraces Dr Domingo Sicilia, who was part of the medical team that helped with his facial reconstruction

Doctors had initially thought the goring, of which footage exists on Youtube and was shown on Spanish TV channel Canal+ Toros, would be fatal.

But the bullring's doctor Antonio Val-Carreres later told El Pais newspaper that Padilla was in serious condition and was staying at Zaragoza's Miguel Servet hospital.

It is not the first time Padilla, 38, a popular matador who has won many fans for his courage and willingness to face the toughest bulls, has been gored.

Fateful fall: Mr Padilla slips as he turns around from the ball and falls to the floor, giving the bull the chance to strike

Pierced: The bull takes its revenge on Mr Padilla by goring him through his jaw as he lies helplessly on the ground

After: With blood gushing from his face, and his assistants distracting the bull, Mr Padilla is helped from the ring



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