'Sack Tapping' -- A Schoolyard Game Turned Ugly

'Sack tapping,' in which boys hit each other in the groin, is growing fad.

ByABC News
May 27, 2010, 3:25 PM

May 28, 2010— -- Gone are the days when bullies merely gave wedgies. The newest fad in schoolyard violence? A quick slap to the testicles.

In the game of "sack tapping" or "ball tapping," as it is called, a boy will try to slap or flick the groin of another boy to inflict discomfort or pain.

The "game" has gotten out of hand, however, according to Dr. Scott Wheeler, a pediatric urologist in Minnesota.

In recent years he's seen an increasing number of young boys coming in with serious damage to the testicles because of a "tap" that hit too hard.

"For some reason, [this game] is popular," Wheeler says. "It's not just bullies, it's kids doing it to their friends. It's rare that bullies target the testicles, they just beat up people."

The trend isn't restricted to Minnesota. A search on YouTube reveals hundreds of videos of young boys, teens, and even members of the U.S. Navy, catching a friend (or enemy) unaware with a quick punch or slap to the genitals.

There's even a "Judge Judy" mock court case involving a 12-year-old "sack tapper" posted to the site.

In some cases, trauma sustained by sack tapping can be severe enough to rupture a testicle, an injury that can require surgery or even the amputation of the testicle, says Wheeler.

This fad is no joke, Wheeler says, "It's just ridiculous that boys are doing this."

Playing 'Chicken' of the Groin

The groin is one of the most sensitive parts of the body because it has such a rich supply of blood and nerves, says Dr. Aaron Katz, a urologist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

In the womb, the testicles form inside the body, so when they descend they take nerves from the abdomen with them.

"That's why when a guy gets hit in the balls, he feels it in his stomach as well," Katz says.

So why would boys do that to each other?