A Worcester, Massachusetts, boy died in a hospital from what family have alleged was complications from eating an extremely spicy chip branded as the One Chip Challenge.
A viral internet trend in which participants are challenged to eat an incredibly spicy tortilla chip without drinking or eating anything for relief is accused of being the cause of death for a 14-year-old boy who ate the chip at school, according to NBC10 Boston.
Harris Wolobah’s mother said she believed the teenager died from complications from the tortilla chip and that the school should have sent him to the hospital instead of home.
The sophomore was confirmed by a Worcester Public Schools spokesman to have visited the nurse’s office because he felt sick, and he was sent home with family after parents were called that day.
The boy’s mother said her son told her that a classmate gave him the chip, which gave him a bad stomachache.
After returning home, the teen reportedly felt better, but passed out in the late afternoon before he left for basketball tryouts. Wolobah’s brother discovered him unconscious, and he was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The boy’s official cause of death has not been confirmed, and the autopsy has not yet been completed. Police and officials did not share any additional information information. Police were reportedly investigating but didn’t say whether any criminal activity was involved in the case.
The 2023 version of the chip, which is made by Paqui, is listed as containing “Carolina Reaper” pepper and “Naga Viper Pepper,” although it is not known whether that was the exact version that was eaten.
On the company’s website, Paqui lists warnings such as “keep out of reach from children,” “Intended for adult consumption,” “Do not eat if you are sensitive to spicy foods, allergic to peppers,” and more.
The school district did not respond to request for comment regarding why the boy was sent home as opposed to the hospital or whether the district will take any action regarding the chips.
However, the district’s superintendent referred to Wolobah as “a rising star” and gave condolences to his family in a statement.
“It is with a heavy heart I share that we lost a rising star, Harris Wolobah, who was a sophomore scholar at Doherty Memorial High School. As a mother and educator, I cannot imagine how hard this is on his family, friends and teachers,” said Superintendent Rachel Monárrez. “My heart goes out to all who knew and loved him.”
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