San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

UPDATE: U.S. missionary gored by bull at Zapote festival out of hospital

UPDATE: The U.S. man injured last weekend after a bull gored him at the annual Zapote Fiestas is out of the hospital, according to a post on Derek Pettner’s Facebook page.

A commenter wrote late Thursday night that “Derek spent his first day at home after being released from the hospital…He ate two large meals today, sat up and laughed with us all and talked, and we had him up taking some steps and regaining his strength today on multiple occasions.”

Pettner, reported as 27-years-old, received injuries to his abdomen and neck from a bull during the traditional Costa Rican bullfights in the southeastern district of San José on the afternoon of Dec. 28.

According to Pettner’s website, Derek In Costa Rica, the man arrived in Costa Rica in July 2011 as a missionary. Pettner wrote he moved from Pittsburgh in the U.S. to the province of Heredia.

“I was on my way from sitting behind a desk crunching numbers to teaching and influencing the lives of Ticos in a Christian school in Costa Rica. My new position and mission is as a missionary teacher instructing 7th-12th grade students in sciences,” he explained on his site.

For several days he remained hospitalized and under observation at Calderón Guardia Hospital. 

Local Red Cross reports state that by the end of the year, they had attended to a total of 81 bullfighters, 18 of which were hospitalized.

If you have any information on Derek’s recovery, please contact the author of this report at

Corrections: The Tico Times originally reported that Pettner had visits from his wife and a friend on Dec. 31., that information came from a hospital report from Calderón Guardia, but Derek is not married. He had visits from colleagues and friends.

Though he was hit multiple times by the bull and rendered unconscious, Pettner was not officially gored with the bull’s horns. 

Contact L. Arias at

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