FARMERS BRANCH -- It was a bittersweet day for a Dallas man slowly recovering from life-threatening injuries he suffered when stabbed nine times and badly beaten on South Padre Island over spring break.
Tuesday, Derek Madrigal returned to his college campus to put his studies on hold.
Madrigal walked slowly, accompanied by his father, Frank Madrigal, when he arrived at Brookhaven College’s student center at about 10:30 a.m. A big crowd of students and staff burst into a round of applause.
Madrigal came to drop his spring semester courses, having missed so much class time while recovering from his injuries.
Madrigal suffered nine stab wounds and a collapsed lung after a gang of men beat him on South Padre Island Beach for protecting the honor of a female friend.
Madrigal told reporters he is making slow progress, still leaning on his family for lots of help.
He says he is just now starting to walk, and the tendons in his arms are still damaged from stab wounds, making it impossible to straighten one arm and difficult to grasp things with his right hand.
When asked if he has any regrets about suffering such a beating for defending another,
“Not at all,” said Madrigal. "I'm lucky, I've got someone on my side."
Madrigal also expressed thanks to all those who have extended such kindness and support through his ordeal.
Madrigal's father Frank said his son's arrival at Brookhaven College is a big step as he begins to resume his life. Frank said his son worried a lot about missing classes while hospitalized and remains committed to his studies.
Madrigal was a sophomore, pursuing kinesiology at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch.
He said he hoped to be back in class in time for summer courses. Eventually, Madrigal hopes to transfer to a university and eventually become a coach.
Brookhaven College President Thom Chesney said young man’s ability to recover so quickly is a testament to his strong character and work out ethic. Chesney also commented that Madrigal may have been a quiet student, but was deeply committed to his work out regime.
Chesney also said he looks forward to reintegrating Madrigal into his course studies with a flexible schedule as needed.