Madrid, Spain – May 11, 2020 – Spanish Grand Prix rider Juan Matute Guimon, 22, has been reported to be in stable condition following several procedures and five days of being in critical condition. Collapsing into unconsciousness after a ride on Tuesday, May 5, Matute Guimon was airlifted to the Hospital Universitario la Paz in Madrid where it was discovered he was experiencing severe brain bleeding.
On Wednesday, May 6, doctors determined the difficult location of the bleeding and after the initial 3-hour surgery, the bleeding stopped by the evening. As the week progressed, it became clear to leading health experts that Matute Guimon was suffering from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a congenital disorder involving convoluted tangle of veins and arteries prone to high pressure due to arterial blood flow. While most AVM cases are discovered at birth, others may go undetected until adulthood.
Matute Guimon’s family reported that he had made a small amount of progress on Friday and he was transferred to Jimenez Diaz Hospital for a complex 7-hour specialized surgery.
His sister Paula Matute Guimon, who has been providing updates on her brother’s condition via social media, posted on Sunday, May 10, that he successfully underwent the different surgery thanks to several leading neurosurgeons who were able to perform the complex and high risk procedure that he needed to survive.
“Today we would like to share with you the names of the three angels that saved Juan’s life yesterday. We refer to them as angels because we didn’t look for them, they somehow found us. We learned there aren’t many doctors that can perform this very unusual and high risk procedure that my brother needed and we didn’t even know existed. These doctors found their way to us through all of your prayers and saved my brother’s life, it was a miracle: Dr. Claudio Rodriquez Fernandez, Dr. Alberto Gil Garcia and Dr. Pedro Ruiz Garcia,” Paula said in an Instagram update on Sunday.
“Juan’s condition today is stable,” she continued. “He will remain under sedation for another week before they slowly start to wake him up. This will give his brain time to recover from yesterday’s surgery. We have a long road ahead but we are embracing it with all the strength you are giving us.”
While his father Juan Matute Azpitarte and his mother Maria are with him in Spain, his older sister Paula, who remains in Florida, reported that the latest report from the doctors is positive and he continues to make steady progress. Paula noted the amount of support and positive messages offered for their family has been tremendous this week, as friends, fellow riders and supporters have shared their well wishes on social media.
“On behalf of my family and I, we want to say we are so touched to see thousands and thousands of messages, phone calls, posts, even profile pictures updated with my brother’s photo,” Paula Matute Guimon said in a social media post. “To see the entire equestrian community unite for our family is a feeling bigger than we could ever express, so to the hundreds of thousands of you we want to say thank you and ask you to continue your prayers as Juan still fights for his life. I know he can feel them, I just know he can.”
Olympic-hopeful and one of the top ranked riders for Spain, Matute Guimon qualified for the FEI World Cup Finals for the first time this year, which he had hoped to attend prior to the cancellation due to COVID-19. The dual-citizen of Spain and the United States earned a personal best score of 80.51% aboard his longtime partner Quantico in the Grand Prix Freestyle at the CDI-W in Mechelen, Belgium, in December, as well as a high score of 77.95% with Don Diego in Wellington’s CDI-W Grand Prix Freestyle in January.
UPDATE May 18, 2020: Paula Matute Guimon reported that Juan’s intracranial pressures are good, and they will conduct another CT scan tomorrow, May 19.