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Indian Gymnast Dies After Two Months in Coma
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A 17-year-old Indian gymnast died Sunday at a hospital in Gurgaon, nearly two months after a training accident left him in a coma, Indian media reported Wednesday.


Young Indian gymnast Brijesh Yadav, 17, died Sunday, two months after an accident in training left him in a coma.

Brijesh Yadav, a silver medalist at the 2015 Indian National School Championships, broke his neck during training on October 11 in Agra. He was attempting a double front on floor exercise when he reportedly missed his steps and fell on his head.

"Brijesh was doing his floor practice when he fell and broke his neck," said his coach Arvind Yadav (no relation). "He had already performed the routine four times but lost his balance in the fifth and fell. Although he landed on a soft mat, his neck got twisted."

Yadav broke his C3 and C4 vertebrae in the fall. He was immediately paralyzed from the neck down and fell into a coma. He underwent two surgeries but ultimately died of respiratory failure after an infection.

"The injuries damaged the respiratory centers," said Dr. Arun Bhanot, chief of spinal surgery at Paras Hospital. "The surgeries were successful but we could never take him completely off ventilator due to damage to the respiratory centers. After some time, he developed infections and it further affected respiratory recovery, which ultimately led to his death. The country has lost a talented young gymnast."

Doctors reported that 80 percent of patients with the same injury are killed instantly, but Yadav managed to survive, while his family, friends and even actor Akshay Kumar rallied to raise funds for his treatment.

"It was Brijesh's positive approach and will that kept him alive for about 50 days," said Dr. Bhanot. "He was also brought to the hospital in time. The major problem was that his respiratory system was not responding on its own."

In March 2015, another teenaged gymnast from Gurgaon broke his neck on floor, training a Thomas salto (a move banned in international competition beginning in 2017). He underwent multiple surgeries and spent six months in the hospital, but fully recovered and returned to training.

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