A Japanese sumo wrestler died in hospital after suffering a violent fall during a fight during the final Japanese sporting championship, causing shock waves and calls for better medical supervision.
The Japan Sumo Association (AJS) said Thursday that 28-year-old Mitsuki Amano, who fought as Hibikero, died of acute respiratory failure in a Tokyo hospital on Wednesday.
“God have mercy on him,” the head of this body governing Japanese discipline said in a statement, expressing AJS’s “sincere gratitude” for Mr. Amano’s “contribution” to Sumo.
The wrestler, who plays in the fourth division with six men in a professional sumo, fell to his head after his opponent knocked him to the ground in a fight on March 26.
Photos circulating widely online show him lying motionless, face down, on a sand-covered mud platform (“dohyo”) where the fighting is taking place.
The long hesitation of those around Dohio before Hibikero finished receiving medical treatment from a professional several minutes later, shocked viewers and netizens.
The wrestler, who weighs 147 kilograms according to the AJS, was meanwhile turned on his back by Ubidashi, who is particularly responsible for calling up the names of wrestlers at the start of fights, a maneuver that should have been performed by professionals to prevent a spinal injury, according to For medical experts.
Hibikiro was conscious when he was taken on a stretcher to an ambulance before being taken to hospital, according to the Sankei daily.
A spokesman for the association told France Press that “the existence of a possible cause and effect relationship between the death and injury of the wrestler” is not clear at this stage, adding that any announcement of improving emergency medical procedures will not interfere before. “An official decision” on this matter.
Doctors are in Kokugikan, the building where the tournaments are held in Tokyo, but they don’t stand on the edge of the dohyo during fights and it is customary to wait for fallen wrestlers to rise from them.
Hibikero’s death has sparked criticism both online and in the media about sumo actions, which AJS is considering changing according to several Japanese sports dailies.
“Why does the Sumo Association have the right to treat life and health lightly?” Twitter user asked.
Nikkan Sports reporter commented: “I can’t help but think they could have reacted faster.”
The last active death of Somotori was in May 2020, when wrestler Shobushi, 28, died after being infected with the Coronavirus.