Mid-South doctor warns against possibly deadly viral ‘skull breaker challenge’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Health experts are issuing a warning about a dangerous trend taking over social media.

The viral TikTok prank is called the "skull breaker challenge," and it's just as brutal as it sounds.

In the challenge, three people in a line jump in the air and the two on the outside kick the legs out from under the person in the middle, causing them to fall.

The challenge landed an Arkansas boy in the hospital with a concussion.

Now, doctors have a warning. 

"It's cringing," said Dr. Dale Criner medical director for the emergency department at St. Francis Hospital-Bartlett. "It's like fingernails on a chalkboard. It is so dangerous, and it can be deadly."

Criner said this is not just a prank; this could be deadly with what's being impacted.

"The back part of their head, where their eyesight, the function of their eyesight is, it can have bleeding on the brain," Criner said. "It can fracture vertebrae, which can cause paralysis."

In the Arkansas case, the victim's family filed a police report. The other students involved were suspended. 

Criner said this is a scary reminder to talk to your children and be aware of various viral challenges and what apps they use on their phones. 

"There's a lot of these activities that children are doing these days, we don't even know about," Criner said.

Criner said so far, he has not dealt with any specific cases where children have admitted it was the skull breaker challenge as the reason for an injury.

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