Top rider takes ‘huge step forward’ in recovery from brain bleed

  • Top international dressage rider Juan Matute Guimón has made significant progress in his recovery from a bleed on the brain, and it is hoped that he may soon be able to leave intensive care.

    The 22-year-old Spanish rider has undergone two operations since he was rushed to hospital in a critical condition in Madrid on Tuesday, 5 May. He has now been awoken from an induced coma and is sitting up and interacting with his family, though he remains on a ventilator.

    “Today when Mom and Dad walked in the room Juan wasn’t in his bed; he was sitting in a chair waiting for them with a smile,” reported his sister Paula on Sunday (31 May). “Although he can’t speak yet because of the ventilator, Juan seemed to completely understand what my parents were saying and used his head to answer.

    “His memory also seems to be there as well as he remembers the situation with Covid, as well as the moment of the incident, which he now knows about. Today was a huge step forward.”

    Paula added an update earlier today (Monday, 1 June) explaining that Juan’s latest CT scan “couldn’t have been better”.

    “The neurologist is amazed with Juan’s cognitive level. They are hoping he will be leaving the ICU [intensive care unit] soon!”

    Juan, the son of three-time Olympian Juan Matute Guimón Snr, is one of Spain’s top dressage riders, and is in contention for next summer’s Olympics. He won individual gold aboard Dhannie Ymas at the 2015 junior Europeans and bronze at the 2016 under-25 European Championships on Don Diego and in 2017 with Quantico.

    He made his senior championship debut at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, in 2018. He had qualified Don Diego for the 2020 World Cup final, which was due to be held in Las Vegas, USA, in April, but was cancelled owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Juan has also branched out into presenting, hosting the FEI Awards in 2018 and 2019 alongside British Paralympic medallist Natasha Baker.

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    Since Juan was admitted to hospital, there has been a huge outpouring of support from the dressage community around the world, with Britain’s Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin among those sharing messages of support.

    “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,” said Paula.

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