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"Thumb-Blowing" Puts Cornish Schoolboy in a Coma
11:33am 12th July 2013
(Updated 11:33am 12th July 2013)
The parents of a Cornish schoolboy have revealed how he had to be put into a coma after a prank went badly wrong.
Sam Thomas was rushed to hospital after he and his mates tried an internet craze called "thumb-blowing."
The 12 year old from St Columb Minor passed out and hit his head on a tree after making himself hyperventilate and applying pressure to his chest.
He managed to walk back to school but later suffered pins and needles, black-outs and collapsed.
Sam is OK now, but parents Celia and Rob wanted to use his story to raise awareness of the dangers.
When Rob got to the school, he said his son looked like he was shutting down.
He said: "I picked him up and he had no blue in his eyes, they were all black. "There was nothing I could do to help him.
"I'm a trained fire-fighter and have seen all sorts of things but my first aid training couldn't help.
"He didn't know who I was, he couldn't talk, couldn't walk.
"We went to the doctors' and they called an ambulance.
"They needed to know more about what happened as they were really worried.
"As only one person can go in the ambulance Celia went to Treliske with him and I went to the school to find out more about what happened from his friends.
"By the time Sam got to Treliske he was a different man."
Sam, who is a keen sportsman, says there are only a few details he can remember from the incident, but wants to warn other children not to try it: "It was all a bit scary and I would definitely say to others not to bother doing it."
Celia said: "He needed neurological rest but they couldn't assure us he was going to be okay.
"We didn't know if he was going to wake up knowing us.
"It was a long 36 hours, we sat there waiting to see whether he would come round.
"The care he received was unbelievable.
'The consultants, the nurses, they were all brilliant.
"It was a long old night.
"The next day they came to wake him but he took a while to come round and he didn't talk for a while."
Danni from Bude has seen some of her friends try thumb-blowing: "It is really dangerous but I wouldn't ever do it. People in my school did it a couple of times and they were fine. Loads of people do it and then they pass out and then they go to first-aid and stuff, because they feel really ill."
Sam's family have said he is recovering, but say it will be a slow process.
Parenting expert Sue Atkins, said: "Really the thing to be doing is to be involved in your child's life. Chat and be involved in their lives, and I don't mean like an inquisition. It's there to be curious, inquisitive and interested in their lives, so that perhaps you might be aware of what they're doing."
Sue added that crazes can spread quickly online, especially on social media.
She said: "things go out so quickly and can get picked up virally so quickly that parents don't even know of these things, and why would we? People try it and probably put up a video of themselves doing it unfortunately, and get masses of hits, so it creates a buzz."
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