Brazilian polo player Juracy Santos has died after being in a coma for nearly two years after a fall during a game in Britain.
Aged in his 50s, Santos was playing in the Phoenician Cup in July 2014 when he fell from his horse. His pony had collided with another pony, causing Santos to fall off and hit his head.
Santos, originally a rodeo rider, was on life support at Royal London Hospital but was moved to Brazil to be closer to family. He was comatose for about 18 months.
His accident spurred a campaign for safer polo helmets, as most of the models in use at that time offered little in the of protection. Equestrian journalist Aurora Eastwood wrote in a letter to the Hurlingham Polo Association, the sport’s governing body, that “seeing a strong, good man, a friend to so many, lying in a hospital bed, stricken with a critical brain injury following an accident on the pitch, has removed the final vestiges of ambivalence towards the issue”.
Santos was a four-goal player with the Guards Polo Club, which sent condolences to the player’s family. “It is likely that a memorial service for this popular professional will be held in the UK during this season,” the club said in a statement.