Just days before the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympics in London, a horrific track and field accident left a Japanese teenager in a hospital after she was struck in the head with a javelin. She miraculously survived the event.
As reported by Agence French Press and a handful of other sources, an unnamed 15-year-old was struck by a javelin thrown by a 19-year-old student at the Fukuyama Heisei University track facility.
The student who threw the javelin reportedly called out that he was preparing to release a throw as required by safety regulations, but the schoolgirl who was struck apparently either failed to hear that call or disregarded it before being struck by the spear-like field implement.
Part of the blame for the incident may be due to unfamiliarity with general surroundings at the site. According to the Manichi, a Japanese newspaper offering a translated English edition that covers the region, the girl who was struck is actually the student manager of a track and field team at a local high school but was using the university's facilities because of ongoing construction at her own school.
The Manichi also reported that she was attempting to leave the facility when she was struck by the javelin.
The force of the strike was significant enough that the javelin itself became physically stuck in the 15-year-old student's head, with the impact deep enough that officials feared removing it on-site for the student's safety. Instead, the shaft was cut off the device before she was transported to a local hospital.
While the teenager's injury was not thought to be life threatening, one hospital official at the facility which was treating her said she still had a tough road ahead of her before being able to fully transition back into society.
"She will have to stay in the intensive care unit for about two weeks," an unnamed hospital official told AFP.