Juan Matute Guimón’s life is returning to a sense of normalcy, a revelation he shared with the Chronicle following weeks in the hospital due to a brain bleed that saw him collapse and fall unconscious on May 5.
“I’m back home, and it feels amazing,” said Guimón, who lives in Madrid. “It was so cool to go back to the stables. The boys, they did a great welcoming for me with all the flags, and there were big letters on the ceiling saying, ‘Welcome back.’ It was so special. The horses were adorable; they all seemed like they knew that I was gone for that long. It was emotional.”
On the evening of May 5, Guimón, 22, was riding the 10-year old Andalusian stallion Quateque IV Coves Darden (Layco—Yazmin, Salinero XIII) during a lesson with his father, Juan Matute, when he lost consciousness.
“The entire morning, I was feeling a little weird. My head felt a little awkward,” said Guimón. “I don’t remember the feeling or the actual moment, but it’s all filmed on my father’s phone; he was filming me do passage and piaffe, and then all of a sudden I just faint and I fall.”
“The week before, I was speaking with my mom [Maria Guimón] about my head hurting so much,” Juan added. “We were thinking about going to the hospital, going back and forth on the decision, and then it ended up just happening.”
Juan was airlifted in critical condition to the Hospital Universitario La Paz in Madrid, where he underwent emergency surgeries on May 6 and 9 to stop brain bleeding. 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.
Juan was transported to the Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz several days later for a seven-hour surgery that repaired the malformation. On May 20, doctors began reversing the medically induced coma, and Juan was moved from the intensive care unit to a step-down unit on June 15. He was discharged from the hospital on July 3.
He returns to the Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz daily for physical therapy.
“I have a team of professionals that are really great to work with,” said Juan, who will continue to undergo physical therapy for several more months. “It’s a lot of work with my body, strengthening the right side so that I’m equalizing both sides. It’s a lot of massage work at the moment, just until I get the healing on both sides, and then I can work at the gym.”
Juan is expected to make a full recovery with no lingering effects from the arteriovenous malformation. His goal of attending the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, remains.
“This is a big goal for me and my team,” said Juan. “If it’s at all possible, and if I’m blessed with the fact that I’m able to get back to my regular training and competition calendar, I would love to shoot for my Olympic dream.”