Students lose fingers in game of tug-of-war at school; administrators lose heads

Students lose fingers in game of tug-of-war at school; administrators lose heads

tug of war
The games people play

Time to outlaw ropes. Or games. Or fingers. Or lunch. Or something.

Station KTLA in Los Angeles reports that a game of tug-of-war at a local high school on Monday turned tragic when two students had their fingers severed. The lunchtime contest, which pitted the school’s juniors against the seniors, was part of the spirit week festivities at South El Monte High School.

But the game become too spirited when the rope snapped, resulting in the loss of at least one finger by two students — one male, one female. The two were rushed to an area hospital and treated. Doctors say they will attempt to reattach the fingers.

School administrators, meanwhile, are reviewing policies to determine whether tug-of-war contests need to be banned in the future. Eric Spillman, the reporter who covered the story for KTLA, apparently thinks they should. He notes that other games of tug-of-war have proven costly to life and limb (especially limb), citing one example from Minnesota in 2008, when a girl lost four fingers in tug-of-war and another from Taiwan in 1997 in which two men reportedly had their arms severed and 40 others were injured. Then again, that contest involved 1,600 players, setting the odds of injury at about 3/100 of a percent — a risk similar to the one faced by people who play baseball.

Time to outlaw that popular sport, or time to face the reality that adversity happens, no matter how zealously we try to shut it out?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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