Started to raise funds for research into and promote awareness of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), the ice bucket challenge involves a nominated participant being filmed while having iced water poured over his or her head before nominating others to take it. Nominees have up to 24 hours to either participate or forfeit by making donations to charities.
Occasionally, challenges go wrong. The ‘epic fail’ shown below is quite funny, because the person supposed to be pouring the water over someone else ends up throwing it over himself. For others, however, the challenge’s consequences were tragic.
Scottish teen Cameron Lancaster, 18, drowned after following the challenge with a jump into a nearby flooded quarry. It is believed his death was the result of the challenge triggering the gasp response. Typically supervened by uncontrollable hyperventilation, this response would have made it impossible for him to hold his breath while submerged.
Forty-year old Willis Tepania, New Zealand, suffered a fatal heart attack after consuming a whole bottle of whiskey shortly after the challenge. His death is likely to have been caused by what poses the greatest danger for anyone taking this challenge, namely the triggering of two opposing physical responses at the same time.
Diving response and cold shock
Being hit by icy water triggers both the diving response and cold shock. Triggered by water hitting the face, the former tries to slow the heart rate, while the latter tries to accelerate it. The simultaneous occurrence of these opposing reactions creates arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm), which can lead to cardiac arrest. Adding alcohol into the equation increases this risk significantly.
There is also the danger of injuries by slipping. In September 2014, Amanda Devey, 40, was rushed into Southport Hospital, Merseyside, with what was initially believed to be a broken neck. The shock of being hit by the icy water had sent her running into her kitchen, where she slipped and knocked herself out.
This case demonstrates the importance of seeking medical assistance after slips, trips and falls. While Mrs Devey’s slip injury turned out to be ‘only’ a severe whiplash injury, some injuries by tripping, falling or slipping that appear minor to begin with later turn out to be severe. Slip, fall or trip injuries of any severity could mean you qualify for personal injury compensation. Call the free phone Accident Advice Helpline number to learn more about claiming injury compensation.
Date Published: September 30, 2014
Author: Accident Advice