Surgery ‘went well’ for South El Monte High School students who lost fingers in tug-of-war accident

SOUTH EL MONTE — Two South El Monte High School seniors who lost fingers in a tug-of-war mishap during a pep rally continued recovering from surgery Wednesday, officials said.
The students, football player Pablo Ocegueda and soccer player Edith Rodriguez, each had several fingers ripped off when the rope snapped during a game of tug-of-war. The accident took place during the lunch period Monday.
“The last I heard, surgeries went into the early evening (Monday),” El Monte Union High School District Superintendent Nick Salerno said.
“The report we got is that the surgeries went well,” Salerno said. But it was unclear if surgeons were able to reattach some or all of the severed digits.
Due to medical privacy laws, information on the conditions of the students was limited, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Saca said Wednesday.
“They’re stable right now,” she said. “They’re awake, alert; they’re recovering from the operation.”
The exact circumstances of the accident remained unclear Wednesday, as well as the type of rope that was being used in the tug-of-war.
There were conflicting reports regarding exactly how many fingers each student lost in the mishap, or from which hands, though officials reported both students had at least four fingers severed in the incident.
The tug-of-war was done as part of the school’s Spirit Week, which traditionally pits the campus’ junior and senior classes against each other in competition, Salerno said.
Meanwhile, school psychologists and counselors, along with outside counselors, were on-hand at South El Monte High School this week to address the concerns of other students.
“We’ve had a lot of kids coming in for counseling and support and wanting to talk,” Salerno said.
In addition to the injured senior, students affected by the incident included those who witnessed it and friends of the injured students, he said.

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