After spending three weeks in a medically induced coma due to brain bleeding, Spanish dressage rider Juan Matute Guimón is awake and alert. The cause of the bleed was determined to be from an arteriovenous malformation— an abnormal connection of blood vessels—found in the hypothalamus region of his brain, the website EuroDressage.com reported.
“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,” his sister Paula Matute Guimón shared in an Instagram story post on May 31. “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 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. We are thankful for your prayers, they are being answered.”
Juan, 22, was airlifted to the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid on May 5 after collapsing and falling unconscious. He was downgraded from critical to stable condition following emergency surgeries on May 6 and 9 to stop the bleed.
Following transport to the Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Juan underwent a seven-hour surgery a few days later to repair the arteriovenous malformation. He remained in a medically induced coma while his brain recovered post-surgery.
On May 20, doctors began the slow process of reversing the sedation.
“With happy tears in our eyes and the biggest smiles we’ve had in a long time, we are so happy to share with all of you that this morning, although he is still sedated, Juan followed instructions,” Paula shared in an Instagram story post on May 23. “They asked him to open and close his eyes, to squeeze his hand and he did!
“Today has been a very emotional and happy day for our family and to top it off we have something else to share with all of you,” Paula added. “After receiving this morning’s news, my parents, full of excitement, headed to the hospital to visit Juan. As soon as they entered the room and began speaking to him, Juan recognized their voices, opened his eyes and began to cry. There probably aren’t any words to describe what my parents were feeling in that moment, but the doctor did find the words to say Juan is exceeding all expectations.”
On June 1, Paula shared news of Juan’s continued progression.
“Today’s [CT scan] couldn’t have been better so they removed the drainage,” she wrote in an Instagram story post. “The neurologist is amazed with Juan’s cognitive level. They are hoping he will be leaving the [intensive care unit] soon.”