UPDATE: Fad involving cold-water challenges prompts alerts

UPDATED Tuesday, May 13, 2014 --- 4:53 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A fad in which people challenge their friends to jump into freezing water in efforts to raise money charity has prompted warnings from state and school officials across the nation.

The phenomenon began last month as a fundraiser for a 6-month-old cancer patient in Missouri. As it spread on social media, the rules about contributing to charity evolved into several variations.

As the so-called cold-water challenges have grown, more divers have reported broken bones, blown-out knees or worse. They might misjudge the water's depth or land on a submerged object.

High schools in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin have begun alerting parents to the practice. State officials are urging divers to use extreme caution.

However, one Indiana cancer charity says the phenomenon helped it raise $1,500 in a month.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


UPDATED Tuesday, May 13, 2014 --- 9:40 a.m.

APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin officials are warning about a new fad in which people, often teens, challenge others to jump into freezing water or else pay $100 to charity.

A Post-Crescent Media report (http://post.cr/1sIWMOJ ) Tuesday says the fad took off about a month ago. It began spreading as jumpers posted cellphone videos to social media sites.

But the jumps aren't without risks. A 16-year-old Fond du Lac girl injured her knee jumping into Lake Winnebago, and a 16-year-old from Norwood Young America, Minnesota, died over the weekend after texting a friend he was about to do a cold-water challenge.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources urges jumpers not to go alone, and to get out of the water quickly. The agency also advises wearing a life jacket and being very familiar with the area of water.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


Posted Friday, May 9, 2014 --- 1:20 p.m.

BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. (AP) -- Law enforcement and rescue personnel say a seemingly harmless act for charity has potentially dangerous consequences.

Authorities say an online trend that's sweeping across the Midwest has teens and even adults jumping into icy cold lakes, rivers and ponds in the name of charity.

But it has caused serious injuries to a Wisconsin teen and sent first responders in Minnesota searching the dark waters of the Mississippi River for a man who took the challenge and jumped off a bridge in a Twin Cities suburb.

The so-called "cold water challenge" gives participants 24 or 48 hours to record themselves jumping into the water and post the video online. Otherwise, they need to make a $100 donation to a charity.

A Laconia High School junior is recovering from muscle and ligament damage in her knee after jumping into Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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