An innocent game of tug-of-war ended tragically when two students got their fingers severed. The students, who attend South El Monte High School, are undergoing an operation to re-attach their fingers.
The students, a boy and a girl, were participating in their high school’s lunchtime Spirit Week activities. Both students played a game of tug-of-war with other participants, but it ended tragically for these two after they lost some of their fingers. Afterward, the students were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.
The San Gabriel Valley discovered that the boy is a football player for El Monte High School, while the girl is a senior and varsity soccer player. Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Miguel Garcia said firefighters responded to the incident in the afternoon:
Fingers (were) amputated during some type of tug-of-war. They were transported by ambulance to a trauma center.
Rosa Sacca, a spokesperson for the hospital, spoke on the students’ condition:
They are both stable and the parents were by their bedside. They were getting ready to be taken to the operating room to try to re-attach the fingers.
El Monte Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Edward Zuniga also spoke on what happened:
It is unknown how many other teens were participating in the tug-of-war. At this point we’re trying to find out more information. We’ll review the activity with district administration. We’re in the early stages. We just want to make sure we have all the facts straight before we talk about changing activities.
This isn’t the first time a tug-of-war game has ended horribly. In June 1978, a 2,000-foot rope was used in an attempt to break the tug-of-war world record in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; 2,200 students and teachers participated, but 70 of them ended up getting injured in the process. Four people lost parts of their hands and fingers in the accident.
In October 2007, two students from Lutheran High School in Parker, Colorado, had their hands nearly severed during a team-building activity event. In June 2008, an 8-year-old girl lost four of her fingers during a “Race for Life” fundraiser event in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.