Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Amy-Clare Martin & Michelle Cullen

Girl breaks neck after being 'peer pressured' into doing viral TikTok challenge

A teenager who broke her neck after being peer pressured into partaking in a viral challenge has issued a warning to others.

Sarah Platt was just 16 years old when her pals egged her on to try the "skull breaker" challenge while messing around at a hockey tournament.

The challenge, which was once popular on social media, saw two people kick your legs from underneath you, so you land on your head.

READ MORE: Man, 20s, dies following horror hit and run in Co Antrim

After attempting the trick, the schoolgirl was rushed to hospital on a spinal board with no feeling in her right leg after she landed on her neck, while her friends escaped unhurt.

She told The Mirror: "It was just a trend that was around at the time. We thought making the TikTok would be fun and funny, but I didn't really want to take part because I just didn't want to get hurt. But it was a little bit of peer pressure."

At hospital, medics found she had broken three bones in her neck and her T5 vertebrae.

Now 18 and thankfully back on her feet, Sarah still suffers complications developing postural tachycardia syndrome, which causes her to faint.

Urging others not to try the challenges, she added: "I want to try and make people more aware not to do it because it could end in someone getting hurt."

Sarah's Mum, Jane Platt, said her family were lucky that Sarah survived the stunt.

She said: "We were one of the lucky ones. She's alive and walking – thank god – but we are obviously having to deal with something else as a result."

Online safety expert John Staines, a former police officer, speaks to children as young as six who have seen dangerous challenges online.

Sarah with her mother Jane (Phil Harris)

He said: "Parents think TikTok is full of happy dances and don't realise there is a darker side.

"People blame TikTok, but they have got billions of users, and they can't possibly watch all videos. Even the best algorithms in the world couldn't do that.

"With all social media platforms, the parent needs to be part of the journey. And the child must be able to speak to the parents."

The warnings come after Archie Battersbee's grieving mum Hollie Dance accused social media giants of failing to tackle deadly online challenges. She believes he was attempting the "blackout challenge" – where people choke themselves until they pass out – when he was found with a ligature around his neck in April.

The 12-year-old never regained consciousness and died earlier this month after a court decided his life support should be withdrawn.

Hollie, 46, believes Archie is not the only victim amid claims 82 deaths have been linked to the blackout challenge since it first began 14 years ago.

A TikTok spokesperson said: "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our community, and especially our teenage users.

"TikTok is a strictly 13+ platform, and our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not tolerate content that promotes dangerous acts that may lead to harm.

"Last year, we launched a major global project to learn about the nuances of this topic, and we have since taken a series of proactive steps to further protect our community and to educate them on how to interact safely with what they see online."


Get breaking news to your inbox by signing up to our newsletter

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.