Man left seriously injured after being hit by massive ball at Madrid fiestas

Victim taken to hospital by helicopter on Sunday, after suffering head injuries in Mataelpino, which ditched bull runs eight years ago and began its own curious tradition

A 29-year-old man was left seriously injured on Sunday after he was knocked into a fence during the so-called boloencierro,” a bull run that, instead of an animal, features a 250-kilo Styrofoam ball. The victim suffered serious head injuries and was taken to hospital from the fiestas in the Madrid town of Mataelpino.

The man stopped outside the bullring and was smashed into the fence by the ball

The accident took place at 12.20pm, after the child’s version of the boloencierro had taken place. As has been tradition for the last seven years in Mataelpino, the ball was released, with attendees of the fiestas running through the street toward the bullring being followed by the massive rolling object. According to reports from the scene, the man stopped outside the bullring and was smashed into the fence by the ball.

Emergency services stabilized and intubated the man, before he was taken to hospital by helicopter.

The mayor of Mataelpino, Javier de los Nietos of the Socialist Party (PSOE), explained that the man was wearing appropriate footwear and was in conditions to take part in the curious ball run, but that accidents can happen during the event, despite greater efforts to make the boliencierro safer this year after two injuries last year, one of which was serious.

“If anyone tries to stop the ball or gets distracted, it can knock you off your feet,” the mayor explained. “It won’t crush you. In fact, when it has rolled over people they’ve been absolutely fine.”

The town of Mataelpino, which has 1,800 inhabitants and is located at the feet of the Guadarrama mountains, 50 kilometers from Madrid, replaced traditional bull runs through the streets with the boliencierro eight years ago, when public funding for the fiestas was cut, and has repeated the popular event every year since.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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