The coach, who believed the boy was feigning unconsciousness, asked the other students to continue slamming him to the ground, as his horrified uncle captured it all on video.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on July 2, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger warning: The story contains descriptions of violence that might be distressing to readers.
In April 2021, a 7-year-old boy went to attend a judo class in Taiwan with his maternal uncle in tow. He wanted to try it out, which prompted his uncle to film the class just to show the boy's mother that this particular martial art was unsuitable for him, reports BBC. Unfortunately, in the video, he captured the young boy being thrown around the mat multiple time by his classmates first, and then his coach.
During the lesson, it got too much for the child who reportedly kept shouting "my leg", "my head" and "I don't want it!" but the coach kept ordering him to stand up, and then told his older students to keep practicing on him. The young lad got so weak that he couldn't even stand up without support, but the coach picked him up and slammed him on the ground multiple times as well, causing him to vomit.
Despite the boy being distressed, the "training" didn't stop. He was thrown more than 27 times, says the family. They rushed him to the hospital after he passed out, and doctors found he had suffered severe brain hemorrhaging. He had to be put on life support because he slipped into a coma.
the coach, Ho, 68, who began to teach free lessons in 2015 in Fongyuan, a city in the center of Taiwan, was not a licensed judo instructor. https://t.co/nIkVqNvRL6— Spark (@msparck) July 2, 2021
"I still remember that morning when I took him to school," says his mother. "He turned around and said, 'Mama goodbye'. By night, he had become like this." Despite being told that the chances of their son waking up are slim, the family held on to hope, but in vain. On Tuesday, June 29, the Fengyuan Hospital announced that his blood pressure and heart rate levels were dropping, and the family decided to withdraw life support after nearly 70 days, per local reports.
The coach, who is in his late 60s and identified only by his surname Ho, denied any wrongdoings and added this was "normal training" when he was questioned during the investigation, according to the Taichung District Court. The coach even had the audacity to tell the horrified uncle that he was faking unconsciousness and even told the father his student fell too hard on the mat on purpose.
The child's family then conducted a news conference which prompted the court to state there was evidence to suspect the coach might have committed a serious crime.
Reading that article made me want to throw my phone at the wall. I’m sick.— Guardians Sean (@GuardiansSean) June 30, 2021
Fox News reported that the coach has been charged with assault and using a minor to commit a crime, but his charges are likely to be upgraded to include or be replaced by "injury causing death." If found guilty, he could face anything from a minimum of seven years in jail up to life imprisonment. The investigators also determined he was not a licensed coach.
The boy's mother revealed his uncle felt "terrible for what happened," but people couldn't help but wonder why he or the other witnesses didn't do anything to stop the coach.
"In our culture, teachers are treated as really great people," said Joanna Feng, executive director of Humanistic Education Foundation, an NGO that works towards ending corporal punishment and child abuse. "They may have been thinking since the coach requires it, I shouldn't oppose the coach's requirement," said Feng. "We've seen many examples of this reaction and mindset; even in serious cases."
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | CasarsaGuru