Two High School Students Lose Fingers in Tug-of-War Game

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A tug-of-war game turned violent when two California high school students had their fingers severed on Monday. 

The two students, Edith Rodriguez and Pablo Ocegueda of South Monte High School were taken to the hospital after their fingers fell off in the game. The hospital reattached their fingers, but it is not clear how many were lost. 

"I think the kids wrapped their hands around the rope and when they pulled, the rope broke, and the fingers went with them," a student said. 

They were both school athletes, as Rodriguez played on the girls' varsity soccer team and Ocegueda played football. 

The game was played during a school event celebrating homecoming and included about 40 students. 

"We'll review the activity with district administration," El Monte Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Edward Zuniga said. "We're in the early stages. We just want to make sure we have all the facts straight before we talk about changing activities."

Injuries from tug-of-war have happened before, as the game is actually pretty violent. 

When people wrap their fingers around a rope, and the rope gets pulled tight, pressure is increased and could be enough to sever a finger or a limb. 

In 2008, a Minnesota girl lost four fingers during the game. In 1997, two men had their arms severed during a game involving more than 1,600 people. 

The International Tug of War Federation says using a particular kind of rope can prevent injuries.