The latest manifestation of humanity’s willingness to risk self-harm for a chance at self-glorification is being roundly condemned by doctors even as it spreads across social media.
The stunt goes like this.
First, three participants line up. In many cases, the one in the middle does not know what is to come, though a cell phone or other camera is set up to record the event for posterity.
Then everybody jumps straight up.
To the glee of the ones on each end, they kick the feet out from under the one in the middle so that person lands on his or her head and back.
Parents please talk to your child about the dangers of this asinine trend being popularized on Tik Tok. Students who take part in this activity will face serious consequences and parents will be subject to any costs related to medical care for injuries. https://t.co/paWrLrCEG2
— David Cittadino (@OBSupCittadino) February 20, 2020
It was not all that funny to parent Valerie Hodson, who shared the outcome of the game on her Facebook page.
“On Wednesday my son was asked to do a jumping contest with his 2 ‘friends’, when he jumped up, the 2 boys kicked him, as hard as they could, so his legs flew out in front of him. He landed hard flat on his back and head, as he struggled to get up he lost consciousness, he fell forward landing on his face,” she wrote. “The school monitor ran to his side, all the while the 2 boys were snickering and laughing as his stiff unconscious body lay on the asphalt.”
“Fast forward at the hospital, he has a head injury, stiches in his face, severe cuts inside his mouth and 2 front teeth I have to keep on eye on. This apparently is a Tik Tok viral prank being filmed and gaining likes on social media.”
She added that her son “did not know this was going to happen. The boys in question he has known for quite sometime, so his trust of them was warrented. The premise of the prank is to get an unsuspecting individual to jump, so the pranksters can kick/trip the person to see how hard they fall.”
Parent Teri Wimmer Smith shared a similar story on her Facebook page.
He son was “unknowingly tiktok pranked which caused him to fall. We are sure broken arm but not sure how bad at the moment. Will keep everyone posted,” she wrote.
“Update: Two broken bones in wrist, surgery will have to be done, waiting on orthopedic now.”
“Parents teach your kids that this crap is dangerous,” she added.
Doctors say the stunt could be fatal in the wrong circumstances.
“The skull breaker challenge is an emerging prank being propagated on social media that results in forceful trauma to the head and neck area. It can be associated with a variety of serious and even life-threatening injuries including, but not limited to, bruising, hematoma, skull fracture, neck strain, neck fracture, concussion and long-term complications of concussion, bleeding in or around the brain, loss of consciousness, paralysis, and death,” Dr. Nathan Richards of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center told Yahoo.
“Although it can seem like a harmless prank to children and adolescents, they should be educated on the potential serious consequences of doing the skull breaker challenge.”
Dr. Denise Klinkner of the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minnesota, said even being prepared for the stunt will not stave off injury.
“In spite of knowing this is the intent, the falling teen rapidly lands without blocking the fall, leading to at minimum a concussion,” she told Yahoo.
“If one is able, an outstretched hand to block the fall may lead to a broken wrist or arm.”
WARNING: The video below contains images of stupid violence that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
— Nicole Wong 王晓庭 (@nicolewong89) February 14, 2020
“New online challenges routinely spring up and rapidly spread over social media, particularly among adolescents and young adults,” Sykes wrote.
“Social media, in turn, offers instant popularity among peers in the form of ‘likes’ and ‘followers,’ providing peer acceptance, buoying the teen’s self-concept and, therefore, enhancing the draw to participate in these challenges.”
Adolescents are particularly at risk, she wrote.
“The adolescent brain is still developing, with the reward system developing before the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning, decision-making and managing impulses. This means teens are highly motivated to engage in socially rewarding behavior and gravitate toward thrill-seeking, without focusing on potential risks or consequences.”
“Teens also face peer pressure to take part, and they fear missing out. This fear of missing out (FOMO) is really a fear of not being connected to their social world. FOMO can be very powerful,” she added.
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