California Marines treat Japanese teen’s head wound after snowboarding accident
Stars and Stripes April 5, 2023
Three members of 1st Battalion, 7th Marines rendered first aid to a Japanese teenager who suffered a head wound from a snowboarding accident at a Nagano ski area earlier this year.
The Marines were skiing and snowboarding together at the Hakuba Happoone Winter Resort on Feb. 11. All are stationed in Japan temporarily from Camp Pendleton, Calif., as part of the unit deployment program.
“I saw a kid take a pretty bad fall on his snowboard,” Sgt. Scott Dike, of North Platte, Neb., told Stars and Stripes by phone Tuesday. “It looked like the snowboard had hit his helmet.”
After Sgt. Tyler Rallo, of Galloway, N.J., and Sgt. Ryan Cartwright, of Cincinnati, caught up to Dike, the Marines found the Japanese snowboarder sitting on the snow with blood running down his face.
Reichi Sekiguchi, of Kyoto, initially believed he was fine and could make his way down the slope to the lodge, but he and his friends panicked when they saw his bleeding head wound, the 3rd Marine Division said in a March 23 news release.
Rallo and Cartwright said they treated Reichi’s wound with a first aid kit they carried and did what they could to calm the panicking teens using hand and arm signals while Dike went to get ski patrol.
The ski patrol moved Reichi to the lodge while the Marines trailed behind in case their help was needed again.
The resort medical staff examined Reichi before sending him to a hospital for stitches, according to the release.
Reichi’s father, Toshiya Sekiguchi, contacted the three Marines later through social media to express his gratitude, and the family and the Marines met in Kyoto a few weeks later for dinner, according to the division’s news release.
“A couple days ago, [Toshiya] reached out to me and said that [Reichi] is back to playing soccer and that he’s all healthy,” Rallo said.