A Taiwanese child has been taken off life support after sustaining severe brain damage during a judo class in which he was repeatedly thrown. The boy was 7 years old.
The child, who has not been identified, had been on life support for close to 70 days since the April 21 incident, according to local media reports. On Tuesday, after Fengyuan Hospital doctors informed the boy’s family that both his blood pressure and heart rate levels were dropping, they chose to remove him from life support, the BBC reported.
The child’s uncle filmed the April judo class. He was, at the time, motivated to record the course as proof to the boy’s mother that judo may not be a good fit for him.
In the footage, an older classmate is seen repeatedly throwing the boy, according to BBC. Despite his screams, his coach directs him to stand up, and for the older classmate to continue throwing him to the ground, before picking him up and throwing him himself. In total, the boy was thrown 27 times.
When the child passes out, the coach — who was subsequently discovered to not have a license — accuses him of faking it, the family said. As a result of the class, the boy suffered critical brain hemorrhaging and went into a coma, the BBC wrote.
While the uncle felt “terrible for what happened,” according to the boy’s mother, a Taiwanese culture of teacher reverence makes his failure to intervene understandable, experts said.
The coach, who is in his late 60s and has only been identified by his last name, Ho, was released on $3,583 bail this month and has been charged with physical assault resulting in serious injury and using a minor to commit a crime, a charge soon to be updated to “injury causing death” local media reported. He will face seven years to life if found guilty.
“I still remember that morning when I took him to school,” his mom told local reporters soon after the incident. “He turned around and said, ‘Mama goodbye’. By night, he had become like this.”