The head doctor of Spanish football club Atlético Madrid has been called in by the Vatican to treat Pope Francis’ knee injury.
José María Villalón, a specialist in orthopedic surgery and traumatology, told Spanish COPE radio that he was part of a group of specialists who traveled to treat Pope Francis.
“Both from the Episcopal Conference and from the Apostolic Nunciature of the Vatican in Spain, they have requested that a group of specialists go to help the Pope in the situation he is living,” Villalón said. “We see him in a wheelchair and see if we can help him improve his mobility and slow down his arthritic process.”
Pope Francis has often been seen with a cane and sometimes in a wheelchair due to pain in his right knee.
Earlier this year, the 85-year-old canceled a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan after doctors said he might also have to miss a later trip to Canada unless he agrees to have 20 days of therapy and additional rest for his entitlement. knee.
In an interview with Reuters in July, Pope Francis opened up about the injury for the first time, saying he suffered ‘a small fracture’ in his knee when he stumbled while a ligament was inflamed .
Villalón told COPE that Pope Francis suffers from an “arthritic process that affects various joints.”
He continued: “Sometimes it starts in one joint with arthritis and other joints get worse as they take on more load than normal. And he seeks to slow down this process and not make it worse.
Villalón explained that he was “nervous” before meeting Pope Francis because “it is the responsibility of a world figure to be physically fit”, adding that his busy schedule adds to the difficulty of treating his wound.
“We have the handicap that he is not a normal patient due to his high activity. Maybe the pope has a harder time because his schedule is so complicated, but I’m optimistic. We can help the pope; he helps us with everything else, but we can at least advise the doctors who are there with him every day.
Villalón described Pope Francis as having “a great personality, he is very good, very lucid psychologically. He is a very grateful person, very kind and he loves football.
After Villalón mentioned he worked for Atlético Madrid, he described Pope Francis – an Argentine football fan – expressing his support for Atleti and Argentine striker Ángel Correa.
“He has a lot of love for him. Pope is a fan of San Lorenzo, and since he is the team’s chaplain, he confirmed [Correa]so they have mutual care for each other.
However, Villalón said that while he is a “very pleasant patient”, Pope Francis is “very stubborn in the sense that there are surgical solutions that he does not want”.
“We have to come up with more conservative treatments for him to be okay,” Villalón said.
He added: “I hope to come back because the first visit was just a tip.”
Pope Francis told Reuters he did not want knee surgery because the general anesthesia used during surgery last year to remove part of his colon due to diverticulitis was having effects negative secondaries.
CNN has contacted the Vatican and Atlético for comment.