LOGAN -- Patrick Eccles' parents had warned him not to take part in the annual bull run in Pamplona, Spain. But the University of Utah student's romantic streak probably prompted him to take part, they say.
The 20-year-old Logan native and two Spaniards were gored Friday during a bull run of Spain's San Fermin festival, while another two runners were gored Saturday.
Vince Eccles of Logan said his son is "a bit of a romantic" and probably ran to get a taste of Spanish culture.
"He mentioned it (bull run) before he left for Spain, and we said, `Don't do that,'" he told The Herald Journal of Logan. "But really, he is not a thrill-seeker. He doesn't do crazy things. He is a romantic, however, and I think that's what drew him there."
Photographs beamed around the world showed Patrick Eccles wincing in pain as a bull's horn penetrates into his left side. The photos made the elder Eccles "hurt for him more," the father said.
Patrick Eccles traveled to Spain this summer to be an intern for a Barcelona company that produces mobile apps. The Logan High School graduate will attend the university this fall as an architecture student. He was valedictorian of his high school graduating class and played on the school's football and soccer teams.
His spleen was removed during surgery after doctors found the bull's horn had gone through his abdominal cavity and punctured the nonvital, blood-filtering organ.
He was said to be improving in a hospital Saturday. "He is evolving favorably but, logically, has had a severe goring and is still weak," said hospital spokeswoman Marta Borruel.
Patrick Eccles was able to talk to his parents by phone from his hospital room on Friday.
"My wife was on the phone with him, so he probably was speaking very quietly to his mother knowing that she would be very angry at him for doing such a thing," the elder Eccles told The Herald Journal, adding his son reported he "felt fine" after the surgery.
Mike Favero coached Eccles on the Logan High football team. Eccles played wide receiver.
"Obviously, he's a risk taker and a risk seeker and a competitive guy," he said. "He's that kind of kid - he's not afraid to fail, and those are the kids that are the most successful, those that take chances and aren't afraid."