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Student ‘went numb,’ hospitalized after violent social media challenge at Pittsburgh school

PITTSBURGH — A 6th grader at a Pittsburgh Public School was hospitalized after becoming the victim of the social media “skullbreaker challenge.”

The skullbreaker challenge, made popular on the app TikTok, is a stunt in which someone kicks your legs out from under you so your head slams on the ground.

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Aubrey Ortiz – a student at South Brook Middle School – became the latest victim of the violent viral challenge. She told Channel 11 it started when a boy and girl at school asked her to learn a dance.

During a moment in the dance, her mom said she would have to jump.

“They kicked my legs over, and (one girl) grabbed my legs and slammed them to the ground,” Ortiz said. “I went numb and couldn’t do anything. I struggled getting up.”

Ortiz was then sent home on the bus. Her parents carried her off and took her to the hospital.

Doctors told her parents that her pony tail saved her from serious head injuries.

Making it worse, Ortiz has nail-patella syndrome, which causes abnormalities in her knees -- something she’s been bullied for. She just had surgery last month and recently returned to school.

“This could have been fatal,” the girl’s mother said. “Why would they do this to anyone? Period.”

Pittsburgh Public Schools officials said this was an “unfortunate prank” and that the students responsible were disciplined. However, Ortiz’s mother wants those students criminally charged.

“She could have had her skull broken, her spine broken. She could have ended up in a wheelchair the rest of her life, who knows?” she said.

The girl’s mother is considering taking this case to the District Attorney’s Office. Meanwhile, Ortiz said she is not going back to that school.

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