Indianapolis teen severely burned in internet prank gone wrong

Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-29 16:34:00-04

INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN/CNN) – A 15-year-old is healing from second-degree burns on his back, chest and face after his friend poured boiling water on him for the internet’s so-called "Hot Water Challenge."

Kyland Clark, 15, says he’ll be back out shooting hoops soon, but for now, he is still wearing the scars of a dangerous internet challenge.

"The situation is here, so you can’t really just not deal with it," Kyland said.

According to the 15-year-old, he and a friend were looking up the Hot Water Challenge on YouTube last week. The "challenge" involves drinking boiling water through a straw or pouring it on a friend.

When Kyland fell asleep, he says his friend heated up some water and poured it on him.

It was supposed to be a joke.

"When I came to my senses, the water got hot, and I just got up and ripped my shirt off," Kyland said.

The teenager ran to a bathroom to try and escape the pain.

"And then, I looked down at my chest, and my skin just fell off my chest. Then, I went and looked in a mirror, and I had skin falling off…my face,” he said.

As a result of the prank, Kyland suffered second-degree burns on his back, chest and face. He spent a week in the hospital, undergoing treatment.

It was one of his mother Andrea Clark’s worst nightmares.

"To see my baby, all burnt up like that, it was heart-breaking," she said.

Doctors with Indiana University Health say they’re starting to see more of these internet challenges land people in the emergency room

"It's suggesting to people that they can try it and maybe they won't be hurt, but they will be. I can guarantee it," Dr. Ed Bartkus said.

In the case of the Hot Water Challenge, Bartkus says it’s possible to end up with permanent disfigurement due to burns – or, if someone swallows the water, burns to the airway that could cause them to close, resulting in death.

An 8-year-old girl in Florida died in 2017 after drinking boiling water in an alleged attempt at the challenge.

"If your friends are telling you to do this, they are not good friends," Bartkus said.

Kyland and his mother also want to make it known how dangerous the challenge is.

"There’s a limit to what you should do in a challenge and what you shouldn’t do. Don’t take it overboard," the 15-year-old said.

But for now, they’re just glad the teenager is on the road to recovery.

"It could have been worse. My son could have died," Andrea Clark said.

Kyland’s doctors say he should heal from his injuries. His skin pigment is expected to return to normal in a few months.

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