TOKYO (AP) – A Japanese sumo wrestler has died a month after falling on his head during a fight in a case that has raised questions about the sport’s response to medical emergencies.
Hibikiryu, 28, died of acute respiratory failure on Wednesday, the Japan Sumo Association said Thursday.
The wrestler, real name Mitsuki Amano, was thrown by his opponent during a bout at a tournament on March 26. paramedics to arrive.
On a stretcher, the wrestler was conscious and told sumo officials he felt his lower body was paralyzed, but his condition had improved in hospital, the Nikkan Sports newspaper reported.
Sumo officials told Japanese media it was not known whether Hibikiryu’s death was linked to his injury. There was no immediate comment from his family.
According to Japanese media, no medical expert was ready to give him first aid. Wrestlers are generally expected to stand up on their own, while medical experts are at the tournament site but not standing beside the ring.
The ancient Japanese sport, which was originally part of a Shinto religious ritual, has faced calls for reforms, including its emergency medical response and ban on women entering the sport. the ring, which is considered sacred.
In 2018, the association faced criticism after demanding that a nurse and other women leave the ring they had entered to give first aid to a collapsed civil servant.
Hibikiryu made his debut in 2011 and rose to 24th out of 200 members of the Sandanme class, fourth out of six in sumo.
Another young, lower-ranking sumo wrestler, Shobushi, died last May at age 28 after contracting the coronavirus and developing pneumonia.