'Sack Tapping' Sounds Like a Nutty Trend, but It Hits Boys Where It Hurts
Bored, son? Why don't you round up some of the boys around the neighborhood and kick each other in the testicles?
Everyone's doing it. Well, not everyone, of course. But enough teenage boys are zapping each other in the 'nads these days that news agencies from The Los Angeles Times to Fox News are proclaiming it a trend.
Just when you thought teenage boys couldn't come up with a new way to make you question their sanity and intelligence, boys are kicking each other between the legs to see who has the most endurance. Naturally, given the activity's prevalence among middle schoolers, not all the participants are willing.
Dubbed "sack tapping," the practice has become all the rage among bullies.
Game or physical assault, sack tapping can have serious consequences. The New York Daily News reported last month that 14-year-old David Gibbons of Crosby, Minn., had to have his right testicle amputated after being sack tapped in the hallway between classes.
"This may be called a game, but it's not a game," his mother, Christy Gibbons, tells the newspaper. "It's dangerous and it needs to stop. I've seen the pain he was in. I've seen what he went through every day, and it just breaks my heart, and I don't want any other child to have to go through this."
Boys kicking each other in the groin is nothing new, of course.
The first season of "South Park" featured an episode where the character of Cartman challenges another boy to a game of "Roshambo."
"First, I kick you in the nuts as hard as I can, then you kick me in the nuts as hard as you can, and we keep going back and forth until somebody falls," Cartman tells the boy.
"Roshambo" appeared in the Online Slang Dictionary in 1999. A definition for "sack tap" appeared in the dictionary more than eight years ago.
Trend or not, Dr. Steve Hodges, assistant professor of pediatric urology at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, tells Fox News it's probably not a good idea to go around kicking others guys in the testicles.
"They're not particularly hardy organs," Hodges tells Fox News. "It doesn't take much force to compress them and cause rupture."
Catherine Bradshaw, a developmental psychologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, chalks this bizarre phenomenon up to peer pressure.
"Even if the kids are voluntarily participating in it, there's probably a lot of peer pressure," she tells Fox News. "Kids hear about things, whether it's on the Web or through other friends, and they try them out. By no means does that minimize the impact. It's clearly a form of physical abuse."
Related: Boy, 14, Allegedly Tattooed Against His Will by Bullies
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.