Two elementary school students seriously injured in judo this year; one of them died

Two elementary school students seriously injured in judo this year; one of them died

By Toru Nakakoji/Senior Staff Writer

November 19, 2019


Two serious judo injuries involving elementary school students have been reported to All Japan Judo Federation (AJJF) this year. Both children hit their heads during practice resulting in acute subdural hematoma, and both occurred in the evening during long hours of practice.


The first injury occurred at a junior sports club in Gunma Prefecture in January 2019, where a 4th grade child was hospitalized due to being thrown during a judo practice. The children started practice at 6:30 in the morning, then after an extended break practice resumed in the evening. The child was severely injured shortly after 7 o’clock.


The second case happened in September. A 5th grade male elementary school student died after he hit his head during practice at a dojo. Some children wanted to stay for the adults evening session after participating in the practice for elementary school students. The injury happened during a match-type randori between children. AJJF has not announced the prefecture where the incident happened due to the strong wish of the parents.


Both injuries occurred during long hours of judo practice, where fatigue may accumulate. AJJF put importance on this and issued a notification to Prefectural Judo Federations on November 12 regarding the practice of elementary school students, which included the statement “It (practice) should be no more than two hours per day.”


A number of serious judo injuries involving junior and senior high school students have occurred in recent years, therefore AJJF has promoted a stepwise practice, based on the strength of students, in after-school club activities to prevent major injuries. Mr. Motonobu Isomura, Chairman of the Serious Injury Prevention Committee, stated, “There’s an urgent need now to educate and inform local dojos and children’s sports clubs.”


Serious judo injuries of elementary school children occurred at local dojos in Nagano Prefecture in 2008 and in Okinawa Prefecture in 2014. In both cases the children had acute subdural hematoma resulting in severe disabilities.


*English translation of an article in The Asahi Shimbun

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