Although it is a combat sport, it really is a rare occurrence when catastrophic injuries — especially those leading to death — occur within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Former mixed martial arts (MMA) manager Sean Entin who suffered a stroke due to a rear naked choke, and William Bittencourt (De la Riva black belt) who suffered a stroke also on account of a choke in 1996 are two incidences of catastrophic injuries that quickly spring to mind. Most recently, Napoleon Jose Alves, a BJJ student, dies two days after having a stroke. The stroke, as was with the cases before, resulted from a choke.
Chokes in BJJ can cause traumas. These traumas can result in strokes and other devastating physical consequences. In the case of Alves, after being choked in class, he demonstrated signs of not being well. He was taken to the hospital where he suffered a stroke. However, family members and loved ones were told it is not serious. The opposite turned out to be true however, as Alves later suffered from the complications of said stroke and eventually succumbed to his injuries.
“On Wednesday we went to the hospital and were asked to come back another day because it wasn’t an emergency. On Thursday tried to go to an orthopedist because of severe headaches and they referred us to a general practitioner, who requested an examination of skull and ruled out a serious condition. On Saturday we went back to the hospital because he was feeling ill and that he had a stroke in Radiology. He was taken to the emergency room and then the doctors said that the case was not serious and we had to wait an hour and 40 minutes to be treated “