An annual pillow fight by freshmen cadets at the United States Military Academy turned bloody last month when many apparently chose to pack hard objects into their pillowcases, leading to 30 people injured, including 24 with concussions. The “weaponized” pillows, which seem to have been packed with helmets, “split lips, broke at least one bone, dislocated shoulders and knocked cadets unconscious,” the New York Times reports. One cadet reportedly was taken away by ambulance and students say had yet to return to school but an academy spokesman said that wasn’t the case, insisting all cadets had returned to duty.
Video of the fight shows many cadets were not wearing the required helmet.
Although talk of the August 20 pillow fight getting a bit too intense had been circulating on social media, the Times only received official confirmation on the injuries from West Point on Thursday. No one has been punished over the incidents that marred what is an annual tradition that is supposed to build camaraderie. Inside West Point, many didn’t seem too bothered. “At first the body count, people were joking about it,” a female first-year cadet said. “My friends were really excited. And right after, when we learned how many people had gotten hurt, everyone felt totally hard-core. I know it looks weird from the outside, but it really bonds us.” This is hardly the first time a pillow fight turns dangerous at West Point. In 2012 a student put a lockbox in his pillowcase, which led the 2013 fight to be called off.
Someone posted a video of the annual event on YouTube to music that shows just how massive of a pillow fight we’re talking about here.