The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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March 5, 2014

Social media 'snow challenge' leaves teen paralyzed

BLUEFIELD, Va. — BLUEFIELD, Va. — A local teen has been seriously injured after participating in a new game floating around on social media referred to as the “snow challenge.”

Sabrina Armstrong, 15, of Bluefield, Va., a student at Graham High School, is now paralyzed from the diaphragm down after attempting to participate in the “snow challenge,” according to her mother Carrie Hampton.

The “snow challenge” is a new trend on social media sites where the participant goes outside while there is snow on the ground and jumps in the snow with little to no clothing on, such as a bathing suit. The participants then see how long they can stay outside.

Officials across the United States are advising against participating in these activities. Doctors say that this type of activity can cause serious injury or illness.

According to a press release from the family, Armstrong was beginning to attempt the popular “snow challenge” when she slipped and hit the back of her neck, breaking her C5 vertebra and bruising her spinal cord. Armstrong is now paralyzed from her diaphragm down with limited movement in her arms and fingers.

“Do not do it, it is not worth it,” the mother said. “You might end up with more challenges than you are already facing.”

Armstrong just began to breathe on her own about four days ago and has already undergone two surgeries, Hampton said.

“The doctors say it could be six months to a year before Sabrina is released from the hospital. But she is making progress day by day,” Hampton said.

Armstrong’s family has set up a benefit fund in her name. Anyone wishing to help the family can deposit a monetary gift into her account at any New Peoples Bank location. Checks are to be made payable to the Sabrina Armstrong Benefit Fund.

— Contact Anne Elgin at

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