Category: This is COOL!


roin-punch ‘game’ harms more boys

Injuries from ‘sack-tapping’ attacks on the rise, doctors say

By JoNel Aleccia
Health writer
msnbc.com
updated 6:19 a.m. MT, Thurs., June 3, 2010

JoNel Aleccia
Health writer

E-mail

Though
most won’t admit it unless they have to, more teen boys are being
treated after cringe-worthy attacks in which they’re slapped or punched
in the groin, sometimes causing serious harm requiring surgery, doctors
say.

An msnbc.com poll of 100 urologists, conducted by Truth On Call,
showed that 30 percent of the doctors had seen or treated pre-teen and
teen boys for testicular trauma in the past year, including severe
injuries caused by so-called “sack-tapping,” in which boys ambush
others at school and elsewhere.

“There
definitely has been a rise in the number of cases,” said Dr. Anthony
Atala, a pediatric urologist and department chairman at the Wake Forest
University School of Medicine and spokesman for the American Urological
Association. “We know it is going up.”

The issue was highlighted by news last week that a 14-year-old Minnesota boy, David Gibbons, had to have his right testicle removed after a hallway assault. “This is, in fact, a form of bullying,” Atala said. “Someone may do that without realizing the consequences of their actions.”


Video
Disturbing game a trend among teen boys
A
game where teenage boys are being punched in the groin appears to be
gaining popularity, with painful outcome for one Minnesota teen. KARE’s
Boyd Huppert reports.

NBC News Channel

Bruises,
blood clots, testicular torsion — in which the organ twists up to 360
degrees — and, more rarely, testicular rupture, all are consequences of
blunt force trauma to the testicles, including injuries caused by
close-range punches.

Nearly
8,000 boys and young men ages 10 to 20 were treated for pubic region
injuries in the nation’s emergency rooms last year, according to
estimates from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. That’s up from
about 7,300 injuries in 2008 and about 5,500 in 2007.

Most
of those injuries were caused during sports or by accidents involving
bicycles or skateboards, a review of cases reveals. But a growing
number have been caused by so-called games known variously as
“sack-tapping,” “nut tag,” or “Roshambo,” after a 1998 episode of the
animated series “South Park” that popularized the painful practice.

Most young victims don’t want to admit they’ve participated, willingly or not.

Reluctant victims
That
was the case with the 13-year-old boy treated last year by Dr. B.
Sophia Ford-Glanton in Hannibal, Mo. The boy suffered sudden
excruciating groin pain, but was reluctant to discuss how he was
injured. He asked his parents to leave the exam room and then revealed
that he’d been struck during rough horseplay with friends.

“He was kind of vague about what happened,” she said.

The
boy required surgery to remove dead tissue from his testicle, but was
fortunate that the organ will still function, Ford-Glanton said.


“It’s hard to believe someone would think it’s fun to see how much pain someone could take from something like this,” she said.

Doctors
and anti-bullying advocates say the recent rise in viral media outlets
means that behaviors that were once confined to a certain school or
region now spread quickly through online videos and news stories.
Dozens of home videos posted to YouTube, for instance, chronicle
groin-punch incidents.

Publicizing
the behavior can exacerbate the problem, said Stan Davis, founder of
the group Stop Bullying Now! of Wayne, Maine. Media reports may imply
that the behavior is common or normal and certain language can minimize
the seriousness of the actions, said Davis, also author of the book
“Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies for Reducing
Bullying.”

“No
matter what playful names are used to describe this, it is sexual
assault with the potential to do serious harm,” Davis said.

Still,
parents, school officials and community members must become aware of
the problem so that they can stop it, said Atala, the urologist.

“You
need to tell children, ‘Don’t let anybody hit you there; if they do,
let me know,’” he said. “We need to let them know this will not be
tolerated.”

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A reflection of our society’
Signs
of testicular injury include severe pain, nausea, vomiting and
difficulty walking. Pain can last days or weeks without treatment.
Testicular torsion and testicular rupture must be treated immediately,
within hours, to have any hope of salvaging the organ.

Judy
Kuczynski, president of Bully Police USA, based in Minneapolis, urges
passage of anti-bullying laws now enacted in at least 43 states to help
stem the problem. She believes only clear structure and firm
consequences for egregious behavior such as “sack-tapping” will curb
what she sees as a growing tolerance for cruel acts.

“If
you look at everything in our society, if you look at the reality TV
shows, you seen an escalation of nastiness,” she said. “Our kids are
only a reflection of our society.”

© 2010 msnbc.com Reprints

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