Teens' Hands Severed During Tug-Of-War Game

Parker, CO (WVLT/CBS) - What was supposed to be a fun event at school during a pep rally, instead ended with two students nearly having their hands severed during a game of tug-of-war.

Henry Barrett and Mitch Helfer were taking part in the event at Lutheran High School in Parker, Colorado when the accident happened.

Both boys' hands were nearly ripped off because the rope was wrapped around their hands when the students were tugging.

"Where the rope was wrapped around his hand and in essence was like a noose, both wrapped around it, and pulled if off at the same time," said surgeon Dr. Lewis Oster.

Barrett has been released from the hospital.

Dr. Oster says he reattached Barrett's hand by using plates and pins to attach the severed bones.

He then sewed the blood vessels, nerves and muscles back together during a ten hour surgery.

Oster said the reattachment surgery has about a 40 percent success rate.

"I'm very impressed with Henry he's a very mature kid. He has a real positive outlook on life," said Dr. Oster.

He also credits the paramedics and emergency doctors, who kept Barrett's hand cool and moist before he could undergo surgery.

Barrett plays the flute at school and it's his passion.

"It's my hope Henry will be able to play the flute sot-again, I anticipate he will and I anticipate it'll be in the next few months," said Oster.

Helfer is in the hospital but his family has not released any information about his injuries or recovery.

Because of the accident, the school has banned the game of Tug of War.


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