People around the internet are, once again, bored enough to try anything — even if it ends in a trip to the hospital. In the latest social media challenge — the Milk Crate Challenge — participants are tasked with climbing up a tower of empty milk crates that are arranged like a staircase. Each crate is balanced halfway over the next, ascending and then descending in a triangle shape. And while the result looks something like a scene from a Super Mario game, there were also face plants, and probably some broken bones as a result.
The challenge started becoming popular in mid-August after one person posted a video of a man slowly climbing up the milk crates. Right as he reaches the top, he misses his step and the crates, along with the man, fall and he hits his face on the plastic crates on his way down.
Another video shows a woman in heels beating the challenge, as everyone else looks on in silence while she slowly makes her way up to the top and back down the other side. And one more rendition of the trend shows a man falling just before reaching the top of the crates and landing in a pretty precarious position with a crate right in the middle of his back. Most of these videos tend to end with some pretty gnarly-looking injuries. It really hurts to watch, but it is so hard to look away.
This challenge isn't the first irresponsible internet trend to make the rounds in the last year, as millions of people have been bored at home trying to find ways to keep themselves entertained during the coronavirus pandemic.
There was the dry scooping challenge, a TikTok trend that involved eating a dry scoop of pre-workout powder, which led to at least one person going to the emergency room with a heart attack. Some people tried the basketball beer challenge, where they placed a full bottle of beer on top of a basketball and let the ball drop. On its way back up, the challenge was to catch the beer bottle, which sometimes resulted in face injuries. And finally, an honourable mention for one trend involving a drill and a corn on the cob, which left singer Jason Derulo with a few chipped teeth. There have to be better and safer ways to pass the time.
ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith shouted out the Milk Crate Challenge in his monologue while guest-hosting Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Monday — and not in a good way. "What is wrong with these people? First, you drink the milk from the crates to get strong bones — then you fall off the crates to break them?!" said Smith. He went on to joke that the Milk Crate Challenge would be a pretty dumb way to die. "Can you imagine that eulogy?" he asked. "He died doing what he loved — acting like a total dummy."
Meanwhile, doctors have commented on the dangers of the challenge. Dr. Shawn Anthony, an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at Mount Sinai in New York told TODAY Parents that the challenge has resulted in many orthopaedic injuries. "Injuries can include broken wrists, shoulder dislocations, ACL and meniscus tears, as well as life-threatening conditions like spinal cord injuries," Dr. Anthony warned.
Dr. Anthony went on to discuss how it could even be difficult to find treatment for injuries sustained while participating in the challenge, as emergency rooms across the country are once again filling up with COVID cases, as the Delta variant rapidly spreads nationwide. "Emergency rooms across the country are already overcrowded and elective surgeries are being delayed or postponed due to lack of hospital beds," he told TODAY. "This social media challenge puts unnecessary additional stress on our health system and health care providers."
Moral of the story? Please don't try this at home.