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Student injured in tug-of-war on road to recovery

9:36 AM, Oct 20, 2007   |    comments
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"I'm definitely doing a lot better," said Henry Barrett.

He suffered the most damage to his hand and arm after he and classmate Mitch Helfer wrapped a tug-of-war rope around their hands last Friday at Lutheran High School in Parker.

Barrett, 16, was released from the hospital on Wednesday.

"Just because it happened, I'm not going to let it affect my life. I'm going to work through this," said Barrett.

Barrett says his left hand is OK, but he nearly lost his right hand.

"I could basically see daylight through and through, other than a few tendons, that was the only thing connecting his hand to his arm," said Dr. Lewis Oster, with Hand Surgery Associates.

Barrett's hand was not only pulled, but also crushed.

"Here are the broken bones," he said pointing them out.

Oster had to rebuild Barrett's hand using titanium plates and screws. Barrett will start physical therapy next week. Oster says he could have a couple more surgeries ahead of him to repair the tendons in his hand.

It was the last outcome this teen could have imagined when he grabbed onto that rope.

"I definitely see tug-of-war in a different light, definitely," said Barrett. "To the teenagers out there, we are not invincible."

"Nothing is always as it may seem. To me a game of tug of war and wrapping it around my hand seemed harmless. Boom, I practically lost my hand," he said.

Helfer injured both his hand and arm. He is expected to be released from the hospital later this week.

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