Doing stupid things is a fact of teenage life. These days, young people are trying something called the “Duct Tape Challenge” and posting videos of themselves breaking free of their sticky binds to YouTube.
Skylar Fish, a 14-year-old from Washington, decided to try the Duct Tape Challenge with two friends on January 16. It didn’t end well. The youngster ended up falling and smacking his face on a window frame, netting him a near-death experience, lengthy hospital stay, and brain surgery, KIRO reported.
Now, the teen says he’s lucky to be alive and warns other people his age not try it.
The game goes something like this, according to the New York Daily News: People wrap themselves in duct tape and then — apparently in order to prove their strength or cleverness — attempt to break free. This process is, of course, captured on video and then posted online for others to see.
Skylar and his friends had done the challenge before — several times. In those attempts, the youngsters taped each other to poles. But on January 16, they decided to try something different.
This time, they tried it without a pole. Instead, Skylar was taped up while standing, free of any supports, and both his arms and legs were wrapped quite tightly.
While Fish tried to break out of the duct tape, he lost his balance and fell over. With arms and legs affixed to his sides, he couldn’t break his fall and instead smacked his head on a window frame.
The teen doesn’t remember the challenge or the accident much. The window frame was made of concrete and metal and Skylar hit it face first. The impact “crushed his whole eye socket and pinched off nerves in his eye,” his mom, Sarah, said. He also broke his cheekbone.
The worst injury, however, was a brain aneurysm. Skylar need immediate brain surgery as a result, and Sarah told Fox 13 on Tuesday that the procedure was a success.
His mother, of course, is terrified of what might have been and can’t imagine her reaction if her son had died performing a silly online challenge.
“If he would have hit on it differently, an inch over, he could have died. If his friend didn’t flip him over when he was having a seizure and choking up blood, he could have died.”
Thanks the Duct Tape Challenge, the teen will be in the hospital for another 10 days. He’s spent the last 10 days in a hospital bed at Harborview Medical Center, and on Monday, he headed to Seattle Children’s Hospital to recover.
In the end, Skylar needed 48 stitches on his head and doesn’t yet know if he’ll regain vision in his injured eye.
The stupidity of the Duct Tape Challenge, and the gravity of the situation and his injuries, isn’t lost on Fish, who said he’s really lucky to be alive.
“When I think about it, it seems like I was hit by a car. Teach other kids not to do it. When I think about it, I become sad and then really happy, because I’m happy, because I survived it. I almost died.”
And now his shaken mom is warning others not to do any of the new challenges that seem to crop up every day and fill YouTube. While they seem harmless, she said they actually pose a serious risk to the people who dare try them.
“They’re just looking at what’s fun, what’s cool, what’s going to impress their friends,” Sarah said, according to Q13. “‘I can break out of this duct tape. I’m the strongest. I’m the best.’ They’re not thinking what if I fall and hit my head.”
[Image via KIRO]