chief doctor in spain football Club Atlético Madrid has been called by the Vatican to treat Pope Francis’ knee injury.
José María Villalón, an expert in orthopedic surgery and trauma, told Spanish radio station COPE that he was part of a team of specialists who came to treat Pope Francis.
“Both the Conference of Bishops and the Apostolic Nuncio in Spain, they asked a group of experts to come and help the Pope with the situation he is going through,” Villalón said. “We saw him in a wheelchair and let’s see if we could help him improve his mobility and slow down his arthritis.”
Pope Francis is often seen with a cane and sometimes in a wheelchair due to pain in his right knee.
Earlier this year, the 85-year-old canceled trips to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan after doctors said he may also have to miss a later trip to Canada unless he agrees to have more. 20 days of therapy and rest. knee.
In an interview with Reuters in JulyPope Francis spoke for the first time about the injury, saying he had suffered “a small crack” in his knee while taking a wrong step while the ligament was inflamed.
Villalón told COPE that Pope Francis is suffering from “an inflammatory process that is affecting different joints.”
He continues: “Sometimes it starts in one joint with arthritis and the other joints get worse because they take on more load than usual. And he’s looking for ways to slow that process down and let it not get worse.”
Villalón explained that he was “anxious” before meeting Pope Francis because “a responsible world figure must be in good shape,” adding that his busy schedule adds to the difficulty. difficulty in treating his wound.
“We have a disadvantage that he is not a normal patient due to his very active nature. Maybe the Pope has a harder time because his schedule is so complicated, but I’m an optimist. We can help the Pope; he helps us with everything else, but at least we will be able to advise the doctors who are there every day with him.”
Villalón describes Pope Francis as having “a wonderful personality, he is very good, very mentally sharp. He’s a very grateful, very kind person and he loves football.”
After Villalón mentioned that he worked for Atlético Madrid, he described Pope Francis – an avid Argentine football fan – expressing his support for Atleti and the Argentinian striker , Angel Correa.
He has a lot of love for him. The Pope is a San Lorenzo fan, and since he is the team chaplain, he confirmed [Correa]so they care about each other.”
However, Villalón said that although he is a “very pleasant patient,” Pope Francis is “very stubborn in the sense that there are surgical solutions that he does not want.”
Villalón said: “We had to offer more conservative treatments for him to agree.
He added: “I hope to return as the first visit was just a consultation.”
Pope Francis told Reuters he did not want to have knee surgery because the general anesthetic used in last year’s surgery to remove part of the colon due to diverticulitis had negative side effects.
CNN has reached out to the Vatican and Atlético for comment.