A Rumored Dangerous, Painful Injury
Okinoumi had a fantastic start to the Aki basho in September, and abruptly racked up a string of losses to less capable rikishi. Many sumo fans wondered if there was some injury involved, or what could cause him to go from defeating Yokozuna to losing swiftly to Maegashira. Now, at the start of Kyushu, there may be some explanations.
As Tachiai reader Celina pointed out, the rumors describe a very painful, difficult to treat injury that is of a very personal nature. Sadly, I have direct experience with these matters. After much internal debate, we will use this site to discuss Okinoumi’s situation after the link below (providing a chance for readers would rather not be aware of medical details to opt out).
Word from the Japanese press is that Okinoumi is suffering (and suffering is correct) from a rect-anal fissure that has become infected. This means a tear in his anus that is either forming an abscess, or has progressed to a fistula. These can occur from a variety of injuries, including hemorrhoids or having persistently difficult bowel movements causing tears in the skin and muscles of the lower pelvis.
A detailed write up on the problem, for those with a strong stomach, is available here
Treatment can range from minor surgery, to significant lower abdominal procedures. The more severe cases require a temporary ostomy for 3 to 6 months to allow the surgical site to heal. Such a procedure would effectively end Okinoumi’s career, as the result of the surgery would be a permanent weakness in the abdominal wall that is a hernia in waiting.
If he is in fact suffering from this problem, his best bet is to seek a skilled surgeon, and hope for a minor procedure. This would leave him able to continue to train, but would likely keep him off the dohyo for 3-6 months.