US cadets left with dislocated shoulders and concussions after violent pillow fight
Freshman cadets were left with split lips, dislocated shoulders and concussions after a pillow fight turned into a violent showdown at the United States Military Academy.
The pillow fight is an annual affair at the academy that allows first-year cadets to unwind after a summer of training as well as to build class spirit. However, this year's edition saw 30 cadets sustain injuries after being hit by pillows stuffed with hard objects. Of the 30 injured, 24 suffered concussions.
According to The New York Times, the pillow fight took place at the academy's West Point campus in New York, on Aug 20 but was only confirmed on Thursday (Sept 3).
To prevent injury during the pillow fights, cadets are required to wear helmets, but many of them chose to ignore the rule. Several cadets even turned their protective gear into weapons by stuffing them into their pillowcases.
As shown in a 49-second snippet of the fight uploaded to YouTube, cadets would not have known if the pillowcases being swung at them were filled with cotton, or helmets if they were unlucky, in the midst of all the chaos.
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Kasker, a spokesman for the academy, told The New York Times that all cadets had returned to duty and that the academy would look into the matter.
He said: “West Point applauds the cadets’ desire to build esprit and regrets the injuries to our cadets.”
“We are conducting appropriate investigations into the causes of the injuries.”
At first, an unnamed female freshman cadet felt "hard-core" when she saw her peers getting injured as it "bonds" them. Later, she changed her mind after seeing a male cadet being taken away in an ambulance.
“If you are an officer, you are supposed to make good decisions and follow the rules. You are supposed to mediate when everyone wants to go out and kill everyone,” she told The New York Times.
“The goal was to have fun, and it ended up some guys just chose to hurt people.”
Sources: The New York Times, USA Today, The Independent