As you have all probably seen, Hakuho injured his arm in his match with Kakuryu on Haru Basho’s senshuraku. Injured to the extent that he could not lift the emperor’s cup and had to be assisted.
We may hear very little about this injury and his status, as the sumo world tends to be secretive about these things. Hakuho tends to be slightly more open about the state of his health, but only when he deems it appropriate. For example, in his post-yusho interview he revealed that he hurt his knee again on day 8 (fighting Tochiozan) and had to do day 9 and 10 on painkillers. In real time he was mum about this.
So at the moment, this is what we know: the injury is probably a muscle tear. It’s not clear whether complete or partial. The morning after the injury he has been able to lift the arm somewhat, but not to lift a glass of water.
Araiso oyakata – the former Kisenosato – wrote a basho summary for Sponichi, and had this to say about Hakuho’s injury:
The worrying part is the injury to his arm. I was on duty maintaining order during the yusho parade, and it must have been seriously painful, for him to say to me “It’s torn. Hurts, doesn’t it”?
I have my own experience with torn muscles. If the injury is grave, it becomes hard to produce power with it – it may drop to 80%, 90%.
The yokozuna has been able to bring himself back from his knee injury to a yusho-winning level, so he knows how to take care of himself, but this is a worrying development.Araiso oyakata, Sponichi Annex
At first the media reported that the Yokozuna will undergo further examinations. But in his morning interviews, it turned out he did not visit the hospital. “I was told this injury may be healed through rest, so I’m going to take a break from sumo for a while and rest it”. He also said he will decide whether to join the Jungyo in a few days.
This statement from him is quite worrying, as a muscle tear needs to be treated soon after injury or the window of opportunity will be missed. Furthermore, I would have expected him at least to go to hospital and be thoroughly checked – undergo an MRI, at least.
To sum up:
- Possible muscle tear.
- Currently unable to lift even a glass of water.
- If he was checked by professionals, it was not at any facility that offers imaging.
- Currently resting his arm and hoping it will improve.
Tachiai will keep monitoring the situation and we will update you on any changes.