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Two high school students lose fingers during tug-of-war

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A game of tug-of-war resulted in the loss of multiple fingers for two students at a Los Angeles County high school on Monday, officials said.

Students at South El Monte High School were competing against each other in a lunchtime game when the rope snapped, amputating four fingers from a male student's right hand and four fingers from a female student's right hand, plus the thumb on her left hand, Los Angeles County supervising fire dispatcher Eddie Pickett told NBC News.

The students, both 18 years old, were transported to a trauma center, he said. Another 17-year-old female student was taken to a trauma center for anxiety, he said.

"They are both stable and the parents were by their bedside," Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Sacca told The San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Monday. "They were getting ready to be taken to the operating room to try to re-attach the fingers."

No update on the students' surgery was provided, and a call from NBC News to the medical center was not returned Tuesday morning. 

Pickett said he believed the amputations occurred because the rope was actually wrapped around the students' hands, instead of just being grasped in their hands. He told NBC News that the extra force caused the rope to snap, which then resulted in the injuries.

The game was part of a Spirit Week at South El Monte High School, according to The San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The girl who lost her fingers is varsity soccer player, and the boy is a football player, reported the paper.

The school hasn't said if it will cancel future tug-of-war games.

"We'll review the activity with district administration," El Monte Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Edward Zuniga told The San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "We're in the early stages. We just want to make sure we have all the facts straight before we talk about changing activities."

NBC's Liza Torres contributed to this report from Burbank, Calif.