Doctors and medical professionals are sending an urgent message about the latest online craze: stop doing the Milk Crate Challenge.
The viral crate challenge took over social media this month, as people continue to test their luck walking across milk crate pyramids, sometimes over concrete. There have been plenty of failed attempts caught on video and shared on the web, but medical professionals want the trend to end.
“Everyone needs to do their part in supporting first responders and healthcare providers, and that involves not partaking in challenges like this one that are putting additional strain on the system,” orthopedic surgeon Shawn Anthony told The Washington Post.
The exact number of injuries related to the milk crate challenge isn’t clear, but Anthony told the outlet a number of his colleagues around the country are seeing challenge participants come in with serious injuries.
The injuries ––ranging from broken wrists, meniscus tears, spinal-cord injuries, and dislocated shoulders –– are similar to what professionals would see if someone fell off a ladder or a high-speed skiing accident, Anthony said.
"If you catch a corner of one of those crates, it's going to be problematic," Henry Schuitema, chief of emergency medicine at Jefferson Health in New Jersey told The Post. "It looks like something funny, but real people are getting real injuries.
“It’s perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder,” he said. “It’s very difficult to brace yourself from the falls I’ve seen in these videos. They’re putting their joints at an even higher risk for injury. One emergency room doctor treated some for multiple fractured ribs after they fell from the crate pyramid.
George Gantsoudes, a pediatric orthopedic in Virginia, told The Post another reason why people should think twice before attempting the challenge: the latest COVID-19 surge might prevent them from getting treated.
“The [orthopedic] surgeries required to fix problems caused by this may fall under the umbrella of ‘elective surgeries,’ Gantsoudes tweeted. “Might not want to tempt the trauma gods if you live south of the Mason-Dixon.”
Some hospitals in the South are creating “field hospitals” to care for the influx of COVID-19 patients. When the pandemic first hit the US last year, many states halted elective surgeries to care for Covid patients; some have reinstated those policies amid the spread of the Delta variant.