Teens have always risked their lives in stupid dares, but social networks make it a lot easier for bad stunt ideas to spread — see, for example, the condom challenge, the fire challenge, and the choking game. The latest dumb viral thing to almost kill someone is the duct-tape challenge, wherein kids have their buddies wrap them in duct tape and then they attempt to Houdini their way out of it.
If kids want to duct-tape themselves, fine. I’m not going to go all the-writers-of-TV’s–Law & Order on them. There are worse things they could do with their time. But it’s not a great idea, as demonstrated by an unfortunate Washington teen who severely damaged his head while attempting a duct-tape escape.
Skylar Fish, 14, had won two previous duct-tape challenges, according to Seattle Fox station KCPQ-13, but the third time went awry when he fell over and slammed his head against a metal window frame. He split his head open, suffering bleeding in his brain and severe damage to one eye. He may not be able to see out of it again.
“If he would have hit on it differently, an inch over, he could have died,” Skylar’s mother, Sarah Fish, told KCPQ. “If his friend didn’t flip him over when he was having a seizure and choking up blood, he could have died.”
The Fish family is asking other teens not to bind their arms and legs with duct tape for fun, which may be a losing battle. There are about 70,000 results on YouTube for “duct tape challenge,” some dating back more than a year. It’s not a tremendously popular trend, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, either.