Thu, Feb 07, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Students who lost fingers in tug-of-war recovering


Two teenagers whose fingers were severed during a tug-of-war game at a California high school were recovering on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether doctors were able to reattach the digits.

The boy and girl, both under age 18, had stable vital signs after undergoing hours of surgery, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Sacca said.

Sacca said she could not release any information on whether surgeons were able to reattach the fingers.

They were participating in a lunchtime tug-of-war game on Monday during a Spirit Week celebration at South El Monte High School when they were injured.

The rope was wrapped around the students’ hands, and it snapped, amputating their fingers, Eddie Pickett, a supervising dispatcher with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told NBC News.

The teens lost four fingers each from their right hand, and the girl also lost the thumb on her left hand, she said.

However, Sergeant Jorge Marchena said the girl lost three fingers on one hand and two on another, while the boy lost four fingers from one hand.

The discrepancy could not immediately be resolved.

No criminal investigation will be done because the injuries were accidental, Marchena said.

“Somehow they got their hands tied up on the rope,” he said.

Similar injuries have occurred elsewhere.

In 2008, an eight-year-old girl nearly lost four fingers when her hand got tangled in a rope during a tug-of-war in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. The fingers remained attached by tendons and were reattached.

In 2007, two students at a high school in Parker, Colorado, had their right hands partially severed during a tug-of-war at a pep rally.

In 1997, two men had their left arms torn off when a rope snapped during a tug-of-war in Taiwan that involved about 1,600 participants. Doctors managed to reattach the limbs.

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