An American college student studying abroad in Spain was gored in the annual Running of the Bulls – a Spanish tradition where individuals scamper for their lives down narrow city streets while being pursued by a drove of incensed toro bravo Spanish fighting bulls. The University of Mississippi student was severely gored Saturday with a piercing the surgeon described as the “biggest goring wound” he has ever seen.
Writes People.com on Feb. 17: “Benjamin Milley, a sophomore at the University of Mississippi studying abroad in Salamanca, suffered injuries including a 16-inch goring in the thigh, according to the Associated Press. He also reportedly had damage to his sphincter and back muscles.”
Milley, who is being misidentified in media reports with the last name of Miller, was running in the streets at the Ciudad Rodrigo’s Carnaval del Toro over the weekend when a large fighting bull tossed him in the air. Cringe-worthy pictures, seen in the video above, show Milley getting skewered from behind, flung in the air and then attacked on the ground while another man fruitlessly tries to pull the bull back by its tail.
After a three-hour operation, doctors report that Milley is recovering in the intensive care unit at the Hospital Universitario de Salamanca. Surgeons repaired his buttocks and rectum, thigh and lower back. “It’s the biggest goring wound I’ve ever had to operate on,” commented surgeon Enrique Crespo.
A hospital spokesperson said: “The surgeon said the intervention was one of the hardest in his 30-year career so far. Milley had been gored in various places and had lost a lot of blood.” The spokesperson, who was not identified, added that the bull’s horns had not damaged any vital internal organs, but that Milley will remain hospitalized to ensure infection does not set in. “He is making good progress,” the spokesperson said to Reuters news service. “The worst danger has passed.”
Family members are now flying in to see the 20-year-old from Marietta, Georgia. One family member, who declined to be identified, told the Daily News: “We had heard from them (Milley’s parents) what had happened, but we didn’t understand the magnitude until we saw the pictures.”
Two other men were injured in the weekend’s running: a 46-year-old man from Scotland and a 31-year-old Spaniard from Salamanca. Ciudad Rodrigo, a small cathedral city with a population of 14,000, swelled with over 50,000 tourists over the four-day holiday weekend who came to see afternoon bull fights and bull running events.
Animal rights groups have long been opposed to the bull running tradition, which is said to have originated in the 14th century, citing injuries to humans and the fact that the bulls are tortured for entertainment.