If you were wondering if August might come to a close without a stupid, silly, or downright dangerous social-media-driven fad making the rounds, put those fears to rest—the "milk crate challenge" is here. And it's a combination of all three (stupid, silly, and dangerous), with some platforms now removing videos showing people attempting to perform the feat they think will make them internet-famous, reports NBC News. What the challenge entails: walking up a tower of milk crates, then posting video on such sites as Twitter, TikTok, or Facebook. It's documentation of a dare that seems to have originated in 2011 and then ramped up earlier this month.
But while it sounds simple, most of those attempts (though not all) end up with the crates falling and the milk crate athlete on the ground. Which is why, even though viewers can't seem to get enough of the wipeout videos, doctors across the country are warning people to stop participating, noting they could suffer injuries such as broken wrists and backs, dislocations, ACL tears, concussions, and other serious injuries. "It's perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder," a Mount Sinai Hospital orthopedic surgeon tells the Washington Post. "It's very difficult to brace yourself from the falls I've seen in these videos." Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon based in Atlanta, agrees.
"This is probably the [challenge] that I've seen that has the highest potential for bodily injury that will take people out not just of their daily lives, but could have lifelong implications," she tells NBC. The Guardian adds that, due to hospitals in many areas currently overwhelmed with COVID patients, this isn't a great time to be rushed to the ER with an entirely preventable injury. "With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising around the country, please check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you, before attempting the #milkcratechallenge," Baltimore's health department tweeted Monday.
TikTok is one platform that has started pulling milk crate challenge videos, even eliminating the ability to search for the challenge on the site. "TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content," the site notes in an email to NBC. "We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or off." Wright concurs. "I get that it's fun, but let's use our brains for something other than hitting our heads on the ground," she says. (Read more social media stories.)