Students' Fingers Severed in Lunchtime Tug-of-War Battle

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 02:48 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Two California high school students severed their fingers during a game of tug-of-war, a type of injury that occurs infrequently but isn't unheard of in the rope-based game.

After Monday's incident, a boy and a girl were transported to Los Angeles County's USC Medical Center where hospital spokeswoman Rosa Sacca described their conditions as "stable," adding "they were getting ready to be taken to the operating room to try to re-attach the fingers."

Officials wouldn't comment on how many fingers the students had lost.

The names and ages of the students have been withheld by the school district, though the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that the female student is a senior varsity soccer player, while the male student is a football player.

It is not known how many teens were taking part in the lunchtime tug-of-war.

In October 2007, a Denver teenager had his hand torn off after the other members of his team all let go simultaneously, according to ABC News Denver. The injured teen had wrapped the rope around his wrist to get a better grip, making it impossible to let go when the opposing team pulled.

The teen underwent a 10-hour surgery to save his hand, and doctors used titanium plates to repair his bones while microscopic veins and arteries were reattached.

Even more extreme injuries occurred in October 1997 when two Taiwanese men in the capital city of Taipei had to have their arms reattached after a tug-of-war contest went terribly awry.

Officials at El Monte Union High School District haven't said whether they will alter policies on campus activities in light of Monday's incident.

"At this point we're trying to find out more information. We'll review the activity with district administration," said El Monte Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Edward Zuniga. "We're in the early stages. We just want to make sure we have all the facts straight before we talk about changing activities."

Stories about a different kind of tug of war:

Pelosi, Republicans in Rangel Tug of War

Castro Raises Stake in Emotional Tug-of-War Over Elian Gonzalez

Rhetoric Rises With Yuan in China's Tug of War With US

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