Safety First: Lessons from tragic incident at Asian junior badminton championships


New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) The tragic passing of 17-year-old Chinese badminton player Zhang Zhijie during the Asian Junior Badminton Championship in Indonesia has raised critical questions about emergency response procedures in sports events.

Video footage shows that after Zhang collapsed on the court and experienced seizures, medical personnel did not immediately intervene. The delay in using an automated external defibrillator and performing effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation has drawn significant scrutiny.

The Indonesian Badminton Association, in conjunction with local hospitals, held a press conference on Monday, stating that the athlete had no spontaneous breathing or pulse upon arrival at the hospital. They explained that the delayed medical response seen in the video was due to medical personnel needing permission from the referees before entering the court, reports Xinhua.

This administrative hurdle underscores the need for streamlined protocols that prioritize athletes’ well-being.

The International Olympic Committee’s medical guidelines stipulate that necessary resources, facilities, equipment, and services must be in place during Olympic events. Specific emergency medical plans for each venue and sport should be established, including protocols for evacuating seriously ill or injured athletes.

The Badminton World Federation’s regulations require referees to handle athlete injuries or illnesses with caution and flexibility, promptly assessing their severity. If necessary, referees should summon the chief referee to decide whether tournament doctors or other personnel need to enter the competition area.

Reportedly, the Indonesian Badminton Association has formally requested that the Badminton World Federation revise the rule prohibiting medical teams from entering the court without the referee’s permission. The paramount principle in sports is adhering to rules, but regardless of how rules are formulated or how referees officiate, prioritizing life should always be the highest rule on the playing field.



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