West Point's Annual Pillow Fight Turns Brutal, Bloody

24 cadets ended up with concussions
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2015 6:46 AM CDT
West Point's Annual Pillow Fight Turns Brutal, Bloody
An image of the pillow fight.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Since at least 1897, the US Military Academy's freshmen cadets have held a massive pillow fight each year. This year, it got ugly. The New York Times reports some West Point cadets are thought to have put their helmets inside their pillows during the Aug. 20 fight, with nasty results: 30 injured cadets, 80% with concussions. Unnamed cadets tell the paper one of their peers ended up with a broken leg; others suffered dislocated shoulders and split lips. The Times reports the school only yesterday confirmed the news, with school rep Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker explaining the event was born out of "the desire to enhance the spirit of the class"; it follows a seven-week basic-training session where they're not to speak to their fellow plebes. Upperclassmen are supposed to keep watch over the first-years during the fight, and Kasker says they required their younger classmates to wear helmets.

But the Times reports that video it viewed shows some cadets in body armor and helmets, and others helmet-less. Kasker says "appropriate investigations" are underway; thus far no one has been punished, and the tradition has not been put on ice. The New York Daily News points to a tweet from one male describing himself as a member of the class of 2019 that features a graphic photo of a bloodied plebe, along with a screenshot of this post to Yik Yak: "My plebe was knocked unconscious and immediately began fighting when he came to. I'm so proud I could cry." The Times notes the fight's history has largely been problem-free, though the 2013 fight was apparently canceled due to a 2012 incident involving a lockbox in a pillowcase. (Meanwhile, West Point grads make more than Ivy Leaguers immediately after graduation.)

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