A Navy SEAL candidate was rendered comatose during a study session last month that saw two sailors agree to slap each other whenever they got a question wrong, with one particularly brutal slap sending the candidate falling to the floor.
The bizarre incident took place on October 12 and has attracted the attention of investigators from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The sailors were studying for the land navigation component of the Basic Under Water Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training program when they decided to up the stakes. While BUD/S candidates typically challenge each other to acts like pushups or sit ups, the sailors opted to slap each other every time they got a question wrong.
That tactic was already in violation of rules that prohibit BUD/S candidates from striking each other, but quickly turned into a tragedy when one of the sailors fell to the ground after getting slapped and hit his head. He was rushed to the Naval Medical Center San Diego and placed into a medically-induced coma.
“The staff on site immediately rendered medical attention and quickly transported the injured student to the hospital,” SEAL spokesman Lt. Trevor Davids said in a statement. “He is currently in good condition and recovering; we continue to provide all the necessary support to our student and his family.”
While authorities are treating the sailor’s injury as accidental, an investigation is still taking place.
“Naval Special Warfare Center takes any injury during training extremely seriously and in response is conducting a thorough investigation into this matter,” Davids continued. “[The center] trains elite maritime special operators in a professional and dignified training environment. Actions which fall short of this high standard are not tolerated.”