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Skylar Fish in hospital in Seattle

A Washington state teenager who was voluntarily wrapped in duct tape and struggled to free himself is now in hospital, recovering from a fall that cracked his head open.

The pictures of 14-year-old Skylar Fish in the hospital aren't pretty. The details are even more gruesome: 48 staples across the top of his head, one eye socket crushed. The fall also caused a brain aneurysm.

"I'm just, actually, really lucky to be alive," the boy told a local television station from his hospital bed, where he has been recovering since Jan. 16.

If you're wondering why he was wrapped in duct tape, then you haven't heard of the duct tape challenge. The mechanics are pretty simple to explain, if not its appeal: Someone wraps you in duct tape and times how long it takes you to break free.

A Google Video search turns up more than 500,000 results. The videos began appearing in 2014, with the bulk of them posted last year. Almost all of them feature teenagers. Because obviously (as teenagers would probably say).

Some people do it standing up.

Others prefer to be seated in a chair.

Some people like to do it taped up with other people.

Entertainment-wise, it's Houdini for people who get all Ds in high school.

The silliness and stupidity is the point.

Whatever else might be said about the duct tape challenge, it's harmless in the vast majority of cases.

Skylar said he and his friends had done the challenge several times in the past, wrapping each other around a pole.

This last time, he was doing it standing up. He lost his balance and as he was falling, he hit his head on the corner of a concrete window frame.

The boy's mother, Sarah Fish, is warning parents about the challenge.

"They're just looking at what's fun, what's cool, what's going to impress their friends," she told a Seattle-based Fox News station. "'I can break out of this duct tape. I'm the strongest. I'm the best.' They're not thinking, 'What if I hit my head?'"

Unfortunately, the question teenagers don't usually ask is: how could this possibly go wrong?

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