A popular but dangerous schoolyard game, in which one child bends back another’s
fingers, has caused a severe injury in a 14-year-old boy.
Itai Sasson, a
teenage pupil at the Rabin School in Mazkeret Batya, was hospitalized last week
with a bent-back ring finger on his left hand.
He and a schoolmate had
played the game, called Rahamim (Mercy), during a classroom break. As Itai
experienced severe pain, his mother rushed him to the emergency room, where hand
surgeons worked to save a damaged bone from functional problems.
Oron, an expert in hand surgery at Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot, where
Sasson was treated, said on Sunday that children are not aware of how dangerous
the game is. It causes the tissues in the hand to be twisted, and the damage to
a developing hand may be irreversible, he said.
“Such a dangerous game is
common among schoolchildren who are not aware of the potential harm, and it can
develop into even more extreme games,” he said.
Itai said he had been
playing Mercy for quite a while.
The game is simple: One person bends the
finger backward until the second says “mercy.”
“In one case, I played
with a boy who was stronger than me, and I felt the finger on my left hand was
completely twisted and really hurt,” he said.
Oron said the hands of
teenagers and younger children are very delicate, and when they are exposed to
such movements, they can be permanently damaged.
“We hope Itai will have
a full recovery,” he said.
Itai’s mother asked her son to bring a message
to the class that it’s better to play ball games than to bend fingers.