Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Jessica Lesley JACKSON

Inquest into the Death of Jessica Lesley JACKSON


Delivered on :18 August 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Linton

Recommendations : Yes

Recommendation No. 1

I recommend that the Honourable Minister for Sport and Recreation give consideration to amending the Combat Sports Act 1987 (WA) and Combat Sports Regulations 2004 (WA) to empower the Commission to undertake a greater role in regulating the trainers and gyms responsible for training combat sports contestants, outside of contests, to improve the safety of combat sports in Western Australia. Any additional resources required by the Commission to then carry out that regulatory role should be funded by the State Government.

Recommendation No. 2

I recommend that the Combat Sports Commission consider implementing a scheme that requires contestants to provide their weight at the time of registration (at least 7 days out from the contest) in addition to the present system of formal weigh-in on the day prior and the day of the contest. The Commission staff can then take that information into account at an early stage in determining whether a contest is safe to be sanctioned, prior to the formal weigh-in process commencing. This would likely require legislative amendment to the regulations, which would be an element to be considered in implementing Recommendation No. 1.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : Ms Jackson was training for an amateur Muay Thai contest in late 2017. In order to meet her chosen weight category for the fight she had to lose a significant amount of weight in a two month period. She embarked on an intensive diet and training regime. In the last week she embarked on a weight cutting program, which involved drinking excess water, slowly taping off to no water at all. She was 18 years old.

On the morning of the weigh-in Ms Jackson still had 2 kgs to lose to reach the required weight before the weigh-in that afternoon. As part of her plan to lose the weight, she did not drink any water and tried to sweat out water in her body through taking hot baths and going to a sauna in the morning. She then went to the gym and trained hard.

When Ms Jackson was observed at the gym around 2.30 pm she appeared dehydrated, tired, fatigued and had sunken eyes. She was doing a lot of running and jogging but she felt she was not sweating enough, so put on a sweat suit on and off as she continued to train. She was focused on achieving her weight loss. Ms Jackson was asked if she could keep going and she responded that she wanted to keep going and she felt she could do it. Ms Jackson went outside the gym wearing a sweat suit and beanie and commenced running up and down the road at the back of the gym. She was then observed to stagger sideways before she fell over on her side and collapsed. She was unresponsive, her eyes were unfocussed and she had shallow breathing. It was clear Ms Jackson was critically unwell and an ambulance was called and she was taken to Fiona Stanley Hospital as a Priority 1 emergency. At Fiona Stanley Hospital Ms Jackson was admitted from the Emergency Department to the Intensive Care Unit, where her condition deteriorated with worsening multi-organ failure. She died on 14 November 2017 as a result of multi-organ failure due to the combined effects of environmental exposure (hyperthermia) and dehydration. The Coroner found the death occurred by way of misadventure.

The Coroner made two recommendations aiming to better regulate trainers and gyms to improve the safety of combat sports in Western Australia.

Catch Words : Combat Sport : Dangers of Weight Cutting : Misadventure

Last updated: 2-Sep-2020

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