LOS ANGELES (AP) – A simple length of rope tore off the fingers of two teenagers during a schoolyard tug-of-war staged to boost campus spirit.
The boy and girl had stable vital signs Tuesday after undergoing hours of surgery, but no information was disclosed on whether doctors reattached their fingers.
A get-well banner hung at the South El Monte High School campus, and counselors consoled students after the horrific start Monday to the traditional Spirit Week celebrating homecoming.
Schools have conducted such games for years, El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Nick J. Salerno said.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this happening,” he said. “It’s unbelievable to me, it’s shocking.”
Officials will review all planned Spirit Week activities “that could even possibly have a risk of going wrong,” Salerno said.
The district also plans to review policies to see if any need to be changed regarding tug-of-war games.
The teens lost four fingers each from their right hand, and the girl also lost the thumb on her left hand, Eddie Pickett, a supervising dispatcher with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told NBC News.
However, sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Marchena told The Associated Press 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.
“They’re awake and alert,” Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Sacca said. “Parents are at their bedsides.”
The girl is a senior and varsity soccer player, and the boy is a football player, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (
The rope was wrapped around the students’ hands, and it snapped, amputating their fingers, Pickett said.
“Our whole focus right now is providing support for the kids,” Salerno said.
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 8-year-old girl nearly lost four fingers when her hand got tangled in a rope during a tug-of-war in Fergus Falls, Minn. The fingers remained attached by tendons and were reattached.
In 2007, two students at a high school in Parker, Colo., 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 some 1,600 participants. Doctors managed to reattach the limbs.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy