Inquest finds MMA fighter Joao Carvalho died following blunt force trauma to head

A Portuguese mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter died due to blunt force trauma to the head following a fight in Dublin, an inquest heard. Joao Carvalho (28) developed an acute subdural haemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head, a post mortem examination revealed.

Mr Carvalho died at Beaumont Hospital on April 11 last after he was knocked out in the third round of a Total Extreme Fighting contest at the National Boxing Stadium.

The welterweight fighter became unwell following a fight against Irish UFC fighter Charlie Ward on April 9. He was rushed to Beaumont Hospital where he was pronounced dead two days later.

He was treated at the Richmond Intensive Care Unit at Beaumont Hospital, a neurocritical ICU staffed by neuro-specialty surgical, medical and nursing staff. Mr Carvalho was pronounced dead at the RICU unit around 10pm on April 11. His brother Alexandre Carvalho identified his body to Garda Brian O’Shea of Santry Garda Station at the hospital, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy conducted a post mortem examination the following day and the cause of death was given as acute subdural haemorrhage due to blunt force trauma to the head.

The MMA fighter's sudden death became the subject of two investigations, carried out by An Garda Siochana and the Health and Safety Authority. A Garda file has been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and criminal proceedings are being contemplated, Detective Inspector Paul Cleary of Kevin Street Garda Station told the court. DI Cleary applied for an adjournment under Section 25 Subsection 1 of the Coroner’s Act to allow time for a decision to be made.

“An Garda Siochana have prepared a file and it has been submitted to the DPP...criminal proceedings are being contemplated,” DI Cleary told the court.

“The HSA have carried out a separate investigation,” DI Cleary said.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane adjourned the inquest until June 2017 and extended her sympathies to the Carvalho family in Portugal. The family were not present in court but had been made aware of proceedings, the court heard.

Mr Carvalho reportedly began to feel unwell around 20 minutes after a technical knock out in the third round of his fight against Charlie Ward. He was representing the Portuguese club Team Nobrega.The team released a statement following Carvalho’s death thanking Total Extreme Fighting medical staff at the venue and hospital staff for efforts to save his life. The statement said Mr Carvalho had ‘gained notoriety nationwide and internationally’ during his career and his death left the team and his family ‘heartbroken.’


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