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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Amy-Clare Martin & Charlotte Hadfield

Teenager breaks her neck doing TikTok challenge as warning issued

A teenager wants to warn others after she broke her neck attempting a TikTok challenge.

Sarah Platt, then 16, was rushed to hospital on a spinal board after being encouraged by her friends to try the "skull breaker" challenge. The challenge involves two people kicking your legs from underneath you so you land on your head.

Sarah's friends escaped unhurt, but she was taken to hospital with no feeling in her right leg after she landed on her neck, the Mirror Online reports. Sarah now wants to warn others not to take part in challenges such as this one, as experts warn children as young as six are watching videos of dangerous challenges online.

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Sarah said: “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.

Sarah Platt in hospital on the day of the incident (Phil Harris)

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.”

Mum Jane Platt, from Banbury, added: “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. 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."


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