South Elmonte High School, located in the greater Los Angeles metro area, is celebrating spirit week. Yesterday, the school’s students were enjoying the traditional tug-of-war competition, where two teams of a combined 40-plus students, applied some serious opposition to a rope that was not up to task.
The rope broke, and two students who had allegedly wrapped their arms through the rope for leverage, experienced the brunt of the blow. Horrifically, the rope severed their fingers. One young woman, Edith Rodriguez, and one young man, Pablo Ocegueda, lost fingers in the incident.
It has been reported (though it’s unconfirmed) that one of them lost four fingers. Both were transported by ambulance to County-USC Medical Center to undergo surgery, reattaching their fingers. Both students are in stable condition and recovering today. There has been no report on the success of the surgeries.
According to the Tug-of-War International Federation, a safe and successful tug-of-war is reliant on the use of a specific type of rope. And yes, there really is an international governing body for tug-of-war.
It sounds awful doesn’t it — like a freak accident? Nope. This type of thing happens more often than you’d guess in the violent world of tug-of-war. Dislocations, burns, abrasions, broken hands, arms, fingers, severed fingers: they’re all quite common when tugging the rope. And then there was this incident in 1997.