Juan Matute Guimon Starts Talking in Spanish & English With Parents at Madrid Hospital Bedside, FaceTimed With Sister in Wellington

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Juan Matute, Jr. and be-medaled Quantico at the Spanish Championships. © Lily Forado

June 7, 2020

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Juan Matute Guimon began smiling and talking in English and Spanish with his parents at his Madrid hospital bedside and FaceTimed with his sister, Paula, in Wellington, Florida Sunday.

“It’s unbelievable the big jump Juan did today,” Juan Matute Azpitarte, Juan’s father, told dressage-news.com. He and and Juan’s mother, Maria, were in Madrid when Juan collapsed on May 5.

“He started talking and smiling. Maria asked a few things in English and asked him if he remembered English. Juan start smiling. ‘Of course,’ in a very low voice.”

Juan senior said they are waiting to move the 22-year-old Juan out of intensive care but the Jiménez Díaz Foundation hospital is undergoing major renovation because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We cross our fingers it’s going to be very soon,” said the three-time Olympian for Spain.

“Of course, he will slowly start recovering weight because he has lost all his muscle from the medication…

“The future is bright for our family. I can’t stop saying thanks to all the professionals at the hospital, also for the determination and the love to save Juan.

“After this very hard time for the people in Madrid with so many deaths from the Covid virus it’s unbelievable how hard they tried for Juan in his critical condition.

“In recent days, all of them feel rewarded when Juan smiles at them.”

Paula, Juan’s older sister, said on Instagram after talking on FaceTime, “I am so overwhelmed with happiness that I can’t find the right words to make this post.

“He looked so handsome and doing so good!”

Juan has been hospitalized since collapsing May 5 with what was discovered to be a genetic brain disorder.

Neurosurgeons at Jiménez Díaz Foundation hospital successfully operated on Juan four weeks ago.

Juan has both United States and Spanish citizenships and after growing up with his family in Wellington returned to Madrid two years ago to develop his dressage and go to university.

After success in youth divisions, he moved up to the senior ranks and was selected for Spain’s team for the 2018 World Equestrian Games that qualified the nation for a start at the Olympics in Tokyo.

This year, his competition results made it virtually certain he would have been invited to the World Cup Final in Las Vegas and with his top two horses, second and third ranked among Spanish combinations on the world standings. He believes he could have made the Spanish team for the Tokyo Olympics. However, the World Cup was canceled and the Olympics put off for a year to the summer of 2021, both because of the Covid-19 pandemic.