By Nicole Pesecky | email
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -Teens are attacking other teens - and instead of on-lookers breaking up the fights, they're actually filming them.
These types of fights may surprise you, but they don't surprise the Lubbock teens we talked to. They say these attacks are normal to see, and many are seeing them through a camera lens, recording each punch thrown. If that's not disturbing enough, doctors are concerned these teen fighters could suffer long-term effects.
It's all caught on tape...teens punching, kicking and tackling other teens. We talked with Lubbock teens who say fights like these aren't uncommon. One teen told me he witnessed one like it just a few days ago at a party in the backyard. Another teen showed us a fight he recorded on his cell phone just the day before, but unlike what you might expect to see, there were girls attacking each other.
A 16-year-old that witnessed that girl fight says, "It was pretty crazy, just yelling and stuff. I knew they were going to fight because it was a whole bunch of people so I just went and saw the fight. And girls getting kicked in the face and stuff, it was pretty brutal."
Its brawls like that, which concerns doctors. "We do see teenagers and young males ending up in the emergency room with broken hands and sometimes rib cages," Dr. Mimi Zumwalt, Asst. Professor, Orthopedics with TTUHSC explains.
Most involved don't rush to the ER after a fight breaks out and that's the problem. "They go for the mouth; it’s bad for both sides. One gets a broken jaw or nose the other gets a broken hand, but the bad thing about that is they get cuts over their joints and the mouth is very dirty in terms of a lot of bacteria and they get infections there," Zumwalt explains.
And it's not just physical side effects; Dr. Paul Douthit with the Health Sciences Center says these teen battlers could suffer long term psychological effects as well. "If a young teenager thinks this is the only way to settle arguments and they are successful at it, it can become pretty intoxicating," Douthit says.
Many teens don't realize the consequences before going to blows. "If they get hit in the head they get concussions, you could become a vegetable. And it’s for the rest of your life and for what?" Zumwalt says.
"We don't have a lot of them reported to us until well after the fact, if at all," Captain Greg Stevens explains with the Lubbock Police Department. Police say it’s hard to track down these battles when they happen since it’s almost always on private property. "They occur in secrecy in a private place even in a backyard with very few people knowing about it initially. They are often videotaped. And even the digitally video isn't published sometimes for several hours, days or months after the fact," Stevens says. He also says another challenge is identifying the person on the other side of the lens.
The victims who may be the winners in round 1 could be losing in the final round. "You can win and also lose in the long run and that's the concern I have for the kids who are involved in the fights I've watched on YouTube where they could hurt themselves significantly short term and long term and have long term effects."
Stevens says it is illegal to fight in a public place, but if the fight occurs on private property, charges would have to be pressed. However if each person involved in the fighting consents than police can't make an arrest.
If you happen to witness a fight, instead of using your cell phone to record it, use it to call for help.
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