Pro wrestler who suffered career-ending injury was told he had an “18-percent or less” chance of survival New Japan Pro Wrestling

Several months ago, New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Katsuyori Shibata suffered a nearly fatal injury in the ring in a match against IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada. The injury, a subdural hematoma, left him in the hospital for several weeks as he suffered from ailments like temporary blindness and paralysis.

Shibata has released several updates on his condition, some of which have been positive. In his most recent update, Shibata says that he had an “18% or less” chance of surviving when he had the initial surgery for the hematoma.

Via STRIGGA of and Major League Wrestling, who has been translating most of Shibata’s updates.

In his last blog update of 2017, Katsuyori Shibata looked back at the year with appreciation for the fans. He said that several things have been lost due to injury, damage and aftereffects, but because of this situation there are a some things he realised. After his initial surgery following the match with Okada in April he was told that the probability of survival was 18% or less. So he thinks he was saved and it was life that he picked up along the way. He thinks there is a meaning in having survived. There seems to be something that should not die. With that spirit he’s continuing his rehabilitation and he knows that persistence and a lot of time is needed. If there is no precedent of his rehabilitation program he’s ready and willing to create his own even though it’s difficult to maintain motivation.

It had been assumed that Shibata’s treatment was going well, as Shibata had made a shocking appearance in Tokyo for New Japan’s G1 Climax Final.

However, it looks like there is still a long recovery ahead for the 37 year old. As always, we wish him the best in his recover going forward.

Background to Katsuyori Shibata’s injury

It is believed that Shibata’s injury happened during this headbutt that occurred 30 minutes into the 38-minute classic match against Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the April 9 Sakura Genesis show.

Shibata had to be rushed to the hospital after the match, where he underwent an emergency five-hour surgery to treat the subdural hematoma. Subdural hematomas can often be fatal if not treated properly and immediately.


Since the injury, Shibata has spent a lot of his time in the hospital recovering. A lot of the updates since had been rather bleak, as Shibata was still dealing with vision issues and partial paralysis weeks after the initial occurrence.

Shibata is a former three-time NEVER Openweight Champion and tag team champion in NJPW. He had recently won the 2017 New Japan Cup, which had granted him a match against Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship — the most prestigious title in Japan.

Bo was born in Atlanta, GA, and has always been a savvy sports follower. He attended Georgia Tech and has previously worked with ESPN TrueHoop, HawksHoop, and the Georgia Tech Newsroom. He covers national college football for FanBuzz.
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