Tragic: Taiwan boy thrown 27 times during judo class dies

File photo of a judo class

A seven-year-old boy who was slammed to the floor 27 times during judo practice has died in Taiwan.

In April, he had suffered severe brain haemorrhaging after a judo class which saw both his classmate and his coach practise their throws on him.

The boy, who has not been identified, later went into a coma and was placed on life support. His parents decided to withdraw life support after 70 days, according to local media reports.

The boy’s coach, who is in his late 60s, has been charged with physical assault resulting in serious injury and using a minor to commit a crime, according to local news site the Taipei Times.

The coach, identified only by his surname Ho, was earlier this month released on bail of NT$100,000 ($3583; £2587).

The seven-year old boy had attended judo class on 21 April under the supervision of his uncle, who reportedly filmed him in class to show his mother that judo was potentially unsuitable for him.

The video shows him being thrown several times by an older classmate during practice. He is heard screaming in the video but his coach orders him to stand up and tells the older boy to continue throwing him, before proceeding to pick him up and throw him to the ground himself.

He eventually passes out, though his family says his coach accused him of faking unconsciousness.

There are questions as to why his uncle did not stop the coach, but experts in Taiwan say there is a long-seated notion of respect and reverence for teachers – which sometimes means accepting their authority regardless of the circumstances.

The boy’s mother told reporters that his uncle felt “terrible for what happened”. It was later found that the coach was unlicensed.

“I still remember that morning when I took him to school,” his mother had said earlier. “He turned around and said, ‘Mama goodbye’. By night, he had become like this.”

On Tuesday at 21:00, the Fengyuan Hospital announced that his blood pressure and heart rate levels were dropping. After doctors spoke to his family, they agreed to withdraw life support.

On Taiwanese social media, there was an outpouring of grief with many saying, “there is no pain now, little brother”. Others called for harsher action to be taken against the coach and for compensation to be given to the boy’s parents.

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