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September 18, 1943

Current Comment

JAMA. 1943;123(3):152-153. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840380028012

CAN SELF-APPLIED JIU JITSU CAUSE DEATH?  Newspapers recently reported that a 14 year old school boy in Los Angeles was found dead under circumstances suggesting death from self-applied jiu jitsu, which the boy was in the habit of practicing zealously. Apparently, available medical literature does not contain any reports of death from self-applied jiu jitsu, but the Los Angeles case raises the question whether death can be so caused. Whether voluntary manual compression of the neck in jiu jitsu can cause fatal suffocation seems somewhat doubtful, because the respiratory center in the medulla is so much less sensitive to asphyxia than the motor cortical centers that the muscular contractions of the hands and arms probably would relax or fail of coordination before the cessation of respiratory movements. On the other hand, fatal cardiac syncope may result under various conditions, such as emotional crisis or pleural and other punctures and at