Judo coach detained after 7-year-old falls into coma with brain injury

04/25/2021 01:57 PM
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Pixabay photo for illustrative purposes only
Pixabay photo for illustrative purposes only

Taichung, April 25 (CNA) A judo coach in Taichung was detained and held incommunicado late Saturday on the charge of negligence causing severe injury after one of his students -- a 7-year-old boy -- fell into a deep coma and was put on life support after being slammed to the floor more than 20 times during a judo class earlier in the week.

Taichung prosecutors questioned the judo coach a second time on Saturday and their request that he be detained and placed in incommunicado was granted by the district court later that day.

The young boy's father, whose surname is Huang (黃), called a press conference on Friday, at which he said his child, a first grade student of Nanyang Elementary School in Fengyuan District, was in his second judo class when the incident occurred on Wednesday.

During the lesson, the coach, surnamed Ho (何), and an older student allegedly threw Huang to the ground more than 20 times as they took turns "demonstrating" a judo throw.

After being thrown a number of times, the boy begged Ho to stop and complained that his legs and head hurt, but the coach ordered him to stand up and be thrown again, according to the father.

When his son failed to get up, Huang said the coach dragged him to his feet and threw him another seven times until he became completely unresponsive and was rushed to hospital.

The boy was found to have suffered a severe brain injury and went into a deep coma after surgery at Fengyuan Hospital, with his condition unstable due to severe intracranial hemorrhaging.

Photo courtesy of the boy
Photo courtesy of the boy's family

Chang Cheng-yi (張正一), the hospital's vice superintendent, said Huang remains in the intensive care unit on life support, but even if he survives could remain in a vegetative state.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Taipei Judo Federation (CTJF) disclosed in a Facebook post Saturday that Ho does not possess a coaching license issued by the CTJF.

Ho was first questioned by the Taichung District Prosecutor's Office on Friday. However, he insisted the throw was just part of normal training, and prosecutors let him go home.

After prosecutors questioned Ho again and other witnesses on Saturday, they issued a request for the court to detain Ho incommunicado because they suspect Ho could have committed the offense of negligently causing serious injury and he may collude with accomplices or witnesses.

The request was granted late Saturday.

(By Hao Hsueh-chin, Ko Lin and Evelyn Kao)


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