Home Uncategorized Man Dies After Choking On Rice Ball During Speed-eadting Competition

Man Dies After Choking On Rice Ball During Speed-eadting Competition

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On November 13th, a 28-year old man participating in a
rice ball (onigiri) speed-eating competition in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture choked,
lost consciousness and died 3 days later. The competition was part of a
festival organized every year by JA East Biwa Lake (JA Higashibiwako), as a way
to promote the local brand of rice and other local agricultural products.

The 15 participants of the competition were given 5
rice balls each and a total of 3 minutes during which they had to try to eat as
many of the rice balls as they could. As the 28-year old resident of Shiga
began on his 5th and final rice ball he began to show signs of distress. Upon
realizing this event staff called emergency responders. While they waited for
the emergency responders to arrive a doctor and nurse that happened to be at
the event, attended to the man. However, despite these efforts, the man died 3
days later in the hospital.

JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) stated that they had taken the
participants safety into consideration when organizing the even and even
provided participants with tea just so something like this would not happen.
They further added that they took this incident very seriously and would be
making efforts so that something like this does not happen again.

Although this is certainly a strange accident I find
it even stranger that no one at the event, not even the doctor or nurse that
happened to be attending, was able to successfully help the man dislodge the
food that had gotten stuck in his throat. I would think that either the doctor
or the nurse that attended to the man would have been able to do the Heimlich
maneuver or CPR or something that would have helped the man clear his airway
but for whatever reason it seems that they were unsuccessful. Additionally, I
also found the comment that the event organizer made about providing
contestants with tea to be rather bizarre. Tea or water may help in some minor
cases of choking but not when you simply can’t breathe. Clearly, there are some
strong indications that the organizer did not take all of the precautions they
probably should have. In any case, it’s definitely a tragic accident. Perhaps
not as embarrassing a death as the man in 2012 who died in Florida after
participating in a cockroach eating contest but still, a death is a death and
hopefully JA and other event organizers will learn from this and make sure
something like this never happens again.
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