Teens' Hands Nearly Severed After Tug-Of-War

One Student Released From Hospital

One teenager has been released from the hospital and another remained in serious condition after their hands were severely injured during a game of tug-of-war at school.

Henry Bennett and classmate Mitch Helfer were participating in a team-building activity at Lutheran High School in Parker on Oct. 12 when the accident happened.

Bennett's doctor told 7NEWS that the 16-year-old wrapped the rope around the palm of his right hand for a better grip.

"At some point a bunch of the kids let go, creating an imbalance in the tugging, and it pulled his hand off. The medical term is avulsed," said Dr. Lewis Oster, Microsurgeon with Hand Surgery Associates in Denver.

Bennett underwent a 10-hour surgery to save his hand. He was released from the hospital Wednesday. Helfer, who suffered a very similar injury, remained in the hospital, according to Oster.

A representative for Denver Health told 7NEWS Helfer was listed in serious condition Thursday evening.

Oster performed the delicate surgery on Bennett's hand, first repairing bones with titanium plates. Then, muscles and microscopic veins and arteries were reattached.

While it could be several weeks before it's known how much movement Bennett will regain in his hand, Oster is optimistic.

"Based on the condition of the tissue, I'll think he'll have a good outcome and a fully functional hand," Oster said while adding that 40 percent of avulsion injuries are successfully repaired.

Henry's mother told 7NEWS her son remains upbeat.

"He says it's brought people together," Reggie Barrett said and shared a portion of poem her son recently wrote, "I may have been injured, but my eyes have been opened," Barrett read. "The future has a mind of its own."

Mitch Helfer's family has declined requests for interviews at the hospital.

Friends and classmates at Parker's Lutheran High School are planning an upcoming fundraiser to offset medical bills.

Signs posted around the private, Christian school read, "Their hands are in His hands."

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