Schoolyard Game Really Does Poke Eyes Out

However, Shain emphasizes that all adolescents -- and many adults -- can be susceptible to the fad phenomenon.

"Every age has its own developmental stuff going on," says Shain. "It's not like all of sudden as a teenager you become an alien and you become a person again."

Dr. Bret Nicks of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., certainly feels like a different person than he was as teenager.

"We did things, things that are just insane," he says. "And of course, now I wouldn't even let my kids know what they were or how to do them."

View From the Emergency Room

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists not wearing helmets, not wearing seat belts and alcohol-related car accidents as the top causes of accidental injury; social games tend to appear pretty far down the list. But while Nicks says the majority of injuries he sees in the hospital are related to everyday falls, summertime always shows an increase in mischievous fads.

Nicks has even seen the water bottle game before.

"There's multiple ways that can be done," says Nicks, who says soda bottles, heated in the hot summer sun, can also turn into an improvised projectile weapon.

"But the most common one -- from a force perspective -- would be a paper clip," says Nicks. He's seen kids pelted in the eye from paper clip rubber band slingshots, as well as clever pen projectiles made by rearranging the spring and plastic parts from click pens.

"A lot of those games really just come out of curiosity," says Nicks, who thought it was out of the ordinary for the 14-year-old to be seriously injured in the water bottle game.

So perhaps mothers won't have to take bottle caps away from their teenagers as well as their toddlers, after all.

"There's appropriate prevention -- helmets and elbow pads -- but even still injuries can occur," says Nicks. "There's not a lot you can do about those."

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