Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
WARNING VIDEO CONTAINS VIOLENT IMAGES: Derek Madrigal, who was attacked by as many as 10 men during spring break on South Padre Island, has been released from the hospital.
A Dallas college student badly beaten on a spring break trip to South Padre Island is headed home.
Doctors discharged Derek Madrigal after 10 days in a Harlingen hospital. The 21-year-old Brookhaven College student was being treated for a collapsed lung and nine stab wounds.
"Thank you for praying for me," Madrigal said. "I'm pretty sure that's a big reason I survived."
Madrigal was celebrating his birthday and spring break when as many as 10 men jumped him for defending a girl's honor.
Home video posted online shows the brutal nature of the attack.
"I didn't know they were stabbing me or hitting me with coolers or anything like that until cops told me I had nine stab wounds," Madrigal said.
He said he watched the video of the attack while in the hospital. Doctors repaired Madrigal's collapsed lung and stapled the right side of his body.
His father, Frank Madrigal, took him from the hospital Tuesday night.
"He's all smiles," Frank Madrigal said. "I can't believe how fast he jumped into the car."
Derek Madrigal is spending the night in Harlingen with relatives.
"He's having grandma's homemade specialty tacos and her brownies," his father said. "They are his two favorites."
Madrigal lost 40 pounds over the past 10 days. The lifelong athlete credits his physical strength for helping to save his life.
"That's probably a big reason I did survive, because I had all the muscle I had," he said.
Madrigal said it still hurts to talk and he coughs frequently.
The Madrigal family plans to take its time driving back to Dallas but have to be home by Friday for a doctor's appointment.
So far, police in South Padre have made only one arrest in the case.