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"Sack tapping" prank costs boy a testicle

3:08 PM, Jun 2, 2010   |    comments
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CROSBY, Minn. -- Pain is the operative word in the unfortunate story of 14-year-old David Gibbons. It is a pain he has endured both physically and emotionally after being punched in the groin by another student as he changed classes at Crosby Ironton High School. 

"One o'clock in the morning he woke me up and told me he was in excruciating pain," recalls Christy Gibbons, David's mom. Not long after, David was in surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital in Brainerd having his right testicle removed.

"This may be called a game, but it's not a game. It's dangerous and it needs to stop," said Christy.

It's a notion seconded by Dr. Scott Wheeler, a Brainerd urologist.

"It's just gotten way out of control," said Wheeler, who now performs "three to four surgeries a year" on boys with ruptured testicles and other complications of being groin punched - with dozens more coming in with less severe injuries. "It's high school, junior high, elementary school," said Wheeler.

Dubbed "sack tapping" by some students, the practice is now featured in dozens of homemade videos on YouTube.

"We're gonna see who our first victim is," says a student in one video before punching an unsuspecting male student in the groin as he walked down a school hallway.

It is painful to watch and Dr. Wheeler says increasingly common. "All parents, you need to have this talk with your kids not to do it. It's lost its humor. It's not a game anymore. People get hurt."

"I don't know how to stop it," said David, who says he's been the recipient of similar attacks in the past. His parents pulled him out of school and are now planning a move to a different school district.

Jamie Skjeveland, superintendent of Crosby Ironton schools, says the investigation of the incident involving David is complete, but he declined to comment on any disciplinary action for privacy reasons.

On Wednesday morning the Gibbons are scheduled to meet with Crow Wing County Attorney Don Ryan to learn if criminal charges will be filed against the other student.

"This kid doing that, he should definitely be held responsible for that," said Denny Gibbons, David's dad.

Doctors have told David that even though he lost a testicle in the attack, he should still be able to have children someday.

David's mom mostly wants other parents to be aware. "I seen the pain he was in. I seen what he went through every day, and it just breaks my heart and I don't want any other child to have to go through this."

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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