Dubai Teen Faces Charges After Kickboxing Match Puts Student in Coma

Last year, we witnessed a disturbing incident that resulted in a 17-year-old falling into a coma, raising significant concerns about unsupervised sports activities among adolescents.

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This incident, which occurred in the JBR area on a sandy pitch around 9:30 PM on November 4, 2023, has sparked serious apprehensions about the safety of youth engaging in sports without proper oversight.

The victim, a 17-year-old from the USA, and his assailant, a 16-year-old British schoolmate, engaged in a kickboxing match without wearing protective headgear. Initially, the victim dominated the first four rounds, but the dynamics dramatically shifted in the fifth round when the defendant delivered a blow to the victim’s jaw, causing him to lose consciousness.

A Canadian friend of both students recalled the events, stating, "We all rushed, including the defendant, to check on him. He regained consciousness and began vomiting, so we took him to my nearby house." However, the gravity of the situation soon became evident, necessitating an urgent hospital visit.

An ambulance was called, and the victim was swiftly transported to Rashid Hospital, where he underwent surgery for an acute subdural hematoma—an intense condition involving bleeding within the skull but outside the brain. The victim remained comatose for several days before being discharged on December 15.

The defendant, now facing charges of physical assault, spent a week in detention at a juvenile center before being released after surrendering his passport. Despite refuting the allegations and asserting that the kickboxing match was a friendly sport among schoolmates, the case has been brought before the Dubai Juveniles Misdemeanor Court.

Representing the defendant, lawyer Awatif Shoqi emphasized her client's lack of malice or intent to cause harm, portraying the event as a tragic accident among friends. She argued that the incident, although regrettable, lacked criminal intent or deliberate harm, highlighting the defendant's immediate distress and concern for his friend as evidence of his good intentions.

A verdict is expected to be delivered on March 27. The outcome of this case will likely have implications for the supervision of youth sporting activities and the enforcement of safety measures to prevent such tragic incidents in the future.

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