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Kaninoyama

Rikishi Status - 2021 Haru Basho

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Posted (edited)

Since this is the injury thread for the basho, I thought I might post it here. Hakuho's orthopaedic surgeon has opened up about his surgery on the 19th in this article - I will translate it best I can, feel free to correct me otherwise. 

Yokozuna Hakuho was unfortunately forced to withdraw from the Grand Sumo Tournament in the Spring due to a knee injury. The man who was by his side for many years and who was also in charge of this surgery is Kazutaka Sugimoto, an orthopaedic surgeon and a leading expert in knee replacement surgery. Hakuho also suffered from knee problems, and it is said that 1/4 Japanese people has some kind of knee problem. In this series of articles, Dr. Sugimoto will talk about episodes with Hakuho, the yokozuna, that he can talk about only because he is the attending physician while pointing out how to live a vibrant life while dealing with knees. In this first installment, I would like to share with you a little-known episode with Yokozuna Hakuho, who recently decided to have surgery.

"It's nice to meet you all. My name is Kazutaka Sugimoto, and I am the director of the Endakai Joint Centre Hospital in Tokyo. As an orthopaedic surgeon, I perform knee replacement surgeries and rehabilitation for many patients. I have supported athletes such as Yokozuna Hakuho and martial artist Keiji Mutoh. On the 19th of this month, I performed surgery on Hakuho's right knee after he decided to take a leave of absence. His right knee had a damaged area of cartilage behind the plate, which is to be smoothed out using an endoscope. In fact, Hakuho's knee joint had been filled with water for several days before the Haru tournament. After the second day of the tournament, he had finally reached his limit and when he tried to remove the water, an unbelievable amount of cartilage fragments came gushing out. In such a condition if he persevered and wrestled from the next day onward, he would not be able to wrestle at all in the future and would have to have an artificial joint in the future. Hakuho himself must have felt ashamed, but I told him exactly what I felt. 

In my opinion, one of the great things about Hakuho is the strength of his conviction. Having missed the first tournament due to the new coronavirus, Hakuho's commitment to the Spring tournament was extraordinary. Nevertheless, he made a quick decision on the surgery, Therein lies his vision of the yokozuna rank, of the sumo world and sumo dojo. When I met him, he was in a state of total discomfort. The tendons and ligaments in his right thumb were also torn. I advised him that he needed surgery right away. The trend has changed a little now, but at that time, there was the feeling in the sumo world that if you had an operation, you would retire. Even ordinary patients are often confused and take a long time to make a decision when it comes to surgery. But Hakuho was a rikishi who had risen to the rank of Yokozuna. He took just a minute after I explained it to him. Normally, after an operation, a rikishi is not allowed to complete in the next tournament. But Hakuho, as I mentioned before, has a strong conviction that is hard for us to imagine. He wants to become stronger after the surgery, wants to win more, so he has to have the surgery. Therein lies his unique image of yokozuna. It is not enough to have 10 wins and 5 losses. He had to win every tournament he entered, win them all. He believes that is he is not stronger than anyone else at all times, he has no right or value to be a yokozuna. That's why he makes such decisions even if he is afraid of surgery.

It is true that he has been plagued by injuries in the past few years, and his sumo has become less and less satisfactory. However, watching him from the side, I can see that his predicament has made his heart even stronger. Sumo wrestlers have a strong image of being heavy drinkers, but Hakuho has almost completely stopped drinking during tournaments. I have also reviewed his diet and training methods from scratch. I have supported many athletes, and I think he has developed a true stoicism that only the very best can achieve. Even when he was hospitalised with the new coronavirus, he brought in 10 books and read through them. He became genuinely strong. He wanted to expand his range as a person. That's what Hakuho does, 24 hours a day. In addition, Hakuho takes pride in the fact that sumo is a divine event and that yokozuna are chosen by the gods. About 10 years ago, he was in a town that was devastated by the Great East Japan Earthquake. On the night he stepped on the ground as a yokozuna in the disaster area, for the first time since the earthquake, there were no aftershocks, and the people in the area thanked him for allowing them to finally get a good night's sleep. Now the world is being greatly affected by the new coronavirus. It may sound a bit spiritual to us, but Hakuho sincerely believed that the coronavirus would be cursed if he won this Haru tournament. He was so determined that if he gave it his all and won, he would be able to save all Japanese people from this mess. 

Knowing this, my own heart aches for the Yokozuna who was forced to take a leave of absence. In fact, it will probably take at least two months for him to return to the ring after rehabilitation and cartilage regeneration. At the hospital, the Yokozuna said, reflecting on his training before the tournament, "Sensei, I didn't know that there was such a thing called 'overwork'. I didn't know that until I was this age,". It was a shame that he had to miss the tournament, but I was impressed by his pure eagerness to win and his refusal to stop until his body screamed. When Hakuho left the hospital on the 20th, he told me with a face full of determination, "I will put everything I have into the next tournament.” The tournament will be a battle for his very survival. He will also be recovering from the new type of coronavirus that he contracted before the first tournament. It may be said that he is groping in the dark and in a very desperate position. However, as one of the supporters of yokozuna Hakuho, I want to support him with all my might. I would be more than happy if everyone could support Hakuho while being mindful of his struggles." 

I hate to sound rather cynical, but it does sound like the Hakuho is pre-emptively trying to curb the YDC's wrath by garnering as much creditable public support as possible. But I do commend his decision to shed some light on what sumo injuries are really like. 

Edited by pricklypomegranate
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Kyodo reports that Yutakayama is kyujo from Day 14 due to a right distal biceps tendon tear (右遠位上腕二頭筋腱断裂), requiring 4 weeks of rest and treatment.

Kotonowaka will get the fusensho.

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59 minutes ago, Kintamayama said:

Ex- Juryo veteran Kaounishiki has retired.

So he did come back just for a farewell, as was suspected.

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48 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

So he did come back just for a farewell, as was suspected.

And he won his last match by sakatottari! I was wondering why he was showing a little smile after he won

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On 27/03/2021 at 09:25, pricklypomegranate said:

Since this is the injury thread for the basho, I thought I might post it here. Hakuho's orthopaedic surgeon has opened up about his surgery on the 19th in this article - I will translate it best I can, feel free to correct me otherwise. 

Some further details from the NHK broadcast: Hakuho has been told not to move the knee at all during his rehabilitation for 2 months, so he's recuperating at home.

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Posted (edited)
On 20/03/2021 at 18:18, Nekonishiki Banji said:

Does anyone have info about Masutoo? Is he kyujo because of injury or Covid? Tokiwayama-beya doesn't reply to my question.

@Nekonishiki Banji this may be of interest to you: Masutoo has just retired.

Edited by Seiyashi

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Still nothing about Hibikiryu?

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8 minutes ago, Churaumi said:

Still nothing about Hibikiryu?

 

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I'd seen that, but that's the latest, I guess.

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