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"Cold Water Challenge" Sparks Saftey Concerns
Updated May 20, 2014 11:15 AM
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(UNDATED) - There's new concern over people going to the extreme to raise money for some very good causes.

The "Cold Water Challenge" has good intentions, but in some cases recently, people have been seriously hurt, prompting warnings from schools and doctors across the country.

The stunts are all over social media: people taking a plunge in icy cold water to raise money for charity. Through requests on Facebook, it becomes a chain reaction to help a good cause in a creative way. But DNR representatives say it simply isn't safe to jump into frigid lakes, ponds or streams.

"The way it works, I accept your challenge and I pay $10 to a charity of my choice. If I don't accept your challenge, I pay $100 to a charity of your choice," explained Brad Bales of Martinsville.

Bales did the challenge on his family's private lake and posted the video on Facebook. He climbed a ladder up a tree to his rope swing, pushed off, and launched into the cold water, all to fight cancer.

Brad's challenge was a tribute to his cousin, who died battling cancer and to his sister who's still in the fight. The cash went to Relay for Life and the "Sonny Miller Strong" fund, created in honor of a Martinsville police officer who passed away in 2012.

But there are growing concerns about the Cold Water Challenge. Across the country recently, there have been reports of injuries - some serious.

A man was paralyzed in Michigan after completing the challenge. A girl in Wisconsin had to have knee surgery when she got hurt hitting a lake's rocky bottom. In Minnesota, a teenage boy drowned after friends say he attempted the challenge in a lake alone.

Police say just because you see it on the Internet doesn't mean it's a safe activity to do. Health officials say the sudden shock of the cold could cause cardiac arrest and plunging into a cold lake can cause a person to drown.

Water below 70 degrees is considered cold by the DNR. Currently, the average temperature of lake water is just 40 degrees.

According to health officials the body does an involuntary gasp when you jump into the cold water, and that can cause you to breathe in water. Officials say you can drown from only a half a cup of water in your system.

Doctors advise if you take the challenge, have people with you and be smart about how and where you do it. They recommend getting doused with a bucket of cold water instead of plunging into a cold pond, lake or stream. Or find another way to support your favorite charity.

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