'Skull breaker' challenge takes over social media

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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The newest trend hitting social media feeds across the nation is also an extremely dangerous one.

With this new TikTok trend, the real "challenge" is avoiding injury.

TikTok users are seeing videos showing people attempting the "skull breaker” challenge, which involves two people tricking a third person into jumping and then having their legs kicked in mid-air, causing a free fall.

“It's a pointless activity that has no positive gain beyond likes and thumbs up,” King's Daughters sports Medicine Director Andy Gilliland.

According to Gilliland, the surprise element of the challenge could be the most dangerous part.

“There is more concern in those instances where you're off guard, because you have no instinctive protective mechanism because your risk and exposure for things like skull fracture are heightened,” Gilliland said. “Especially when you're going into that kind of body posture where you literally can't protect yourself and your body kind of naturally kicks into the fight-or-flight response, so there's no control.”

With that lack of control, the challenge can be compared with falling from a contested jump shot in basketball – only without the possibility of falling that athletes expect.

Because of that, the prank could result in concussions, skull fractures, or cervical spine issues, especially if the person falling is to have the back of their head make contact with the ground first.

Over time, the person falling may not be the only victim.

“I think what kids don't realize nowadays is their behaviors, it sticks with them,” Gilliland said. “So there's not the premise of clearing later on because we all have with the evolution of social media an online presence that is persistent.”

According to NBC News, two students from Camden County, New Jersey, are actually facing criminal charges because of this challenge. The two are both accused of third-degree aggravated assault and third-degree endangering an injured victim.