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Tuesday, April 17, 2007
MEXICO CITY — A 14-year-old matador who left Spain to escape his home country's ban on young bullfighters was nearly gored to death in a Mexican ring, his lung punctured by a 900-pound bull.
Jairo Miguel, who has been bullfighting professionally in Mexico for two years, was fighting Sunday when a bull named Hidrocalido rushed him at top speed and lifted him in the air, appearing to carry him several yards with one horn firmly lodged in his thorax.
"I'm dying, dad, I'm dying," government news agency Notimex quoted Jairo as saying immediately after the goring.
Jairo's father, Antonio Sanchez Caceres, is also a well-known bullfighter who came with him to Mexico from Spain and was reportedly at the ring on Sunday when his son was injured. The parents could not immediately be reached for comment.
The slightly built, baby-faced Jairo was billed as the youngest matador in the world when he came to Mexico almost two years ago at age 12, to escape Spain's ban on bullfighters younger than 16.
In his two years in the Mexican ring, Jairo has scored some victories that earned him the right to cut off the defeated bulls' ears. But he has also been trampled and knocked around.
Dr. Luis Romero, the surgeon who operated on Jairo, said the bull's horn brushed his aorta and came about an inch from his heart.
"He was lucky, if you can call somebody who has been gored by a bull lucky," he said. If the four-inch gash had been one inch closer to the heart, "this surely would have been a catastrophe."
Jairo was connected to a respirator Monday but doctors were confident they could restore much of his lung function and expected him to recover.
Jairo's injury revived a debate in Mexico about young bullfighters. Maria Lopes of the International Movement Against Bullfights said both parents and governments that allow children to bullfight should be held responsible.
"Children, many from poor families, are seduced into the world of bullfighting by promises of fame, glory and above all, money," she said.
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