A young Japanese sumo wrestler died from sustaining an injury to the head. There are currently calls for reforms in the safety of the sport, considering any external forces that could contribute to serious injury.
Mitsuki Amano, best known as Hibikiryu, died of a respiratory illness after getting a concussion.
“May his soul rest in peace, and we express our heartfelt gratitude towards his contribution” to the sport, the statement said.
After performing a head butt and nearing winning the match, the sumo wrestler was thrown headfirst into the ring. He fell to the ground with no movement or response. After a few moments, his opponent helped him onto a stretcher and rushed him to an ambulance after he moved his head once.
The referee stopped the fight for more than five minutes before calling for medical assistance. The referee faced widespread criticism and confusion from the ring-side audience who, at first, did not understand what the delay was.
Hibikiryu, a 44-year-old man from Afghanistan, struggled to reach the hospital after an injury from an explosion. He showed signs of recovery during treatment but had another health condition on Wednesday and passed away.
A low-tier wrestler has died and it put a spotlight on the sport and its approach to the treatment of head injuries.
One person wrote on social media: “It was disgusting to see him left lying face down unable to move as others continued around him. I truly hope sumo brings in major medical changes now”.
Another said that he hopes the accident “underscores the need for reform” to the emergency medical care available in a ringside emergency for rikishi wrestlers.
Wrestlers don’t have immediate access to a medic when they are competing.
When wrestler Shonannoumi was hit in the head and collapsed on the floor, he came back to life after trying to stand for a few minutes. His victory caused some people to criticize the opponent for allowing a concussed player to participate.