- TikToker Gray Atkinson said he nearly died making a video about how to open a coconut.
- Atkinson says he was paying too much attention to "looking good" and not enough on the knife.
- Atkinson's video isn't the only example of injuries related to social media usage.
"Put a finger down if you almost died from a coconut," Gray Atkinson said in the opening of a July 17 TikTok video.
The video, which has since been viewed 11.5 million times, shows Atkinson in an arm cast, participating in the common TikTok format of posters raising a hand and asking viewers to "put a finger down" if they can relate.
"Put a finger down," Atkinson continued, "if while you were trying to open a coconut and make a TikTok video of how to open the coconut, you were paying too much attention to looking good in your video and not enough attention to where you were cutting, so you cut straight through the coconut and right into your arm and you sever a major artery and a tendon."
Atkinson goes on to say that, post-accident, his first thought was to call his mom using the Siri voice assistant. When Siri didn't hear him, he course-corrected and had Siri call 911 instead.
While on the phone with a 911 operator and applying pressure to the wound, Atkinson said an Amazon package was delivered, so he put the 911 operator on hold.
"Then, put a finger down if, by this time, you've lost so much blood that you literally think you're going to die, and you're really light-headed, so you go outside, and you sit down on your porch and you just kind of accept your fate," Atkinson said.
Atkinson went on to say that a neighbor who was walking by helped him put a tourniquet on his arm to help stanch the bleeding while he waited for an ambulance to come by. The entire incident was caught on camera by his Ring doorbell, Atkinson said.
Atkinson's original video — the one in which he intended to show people how to open a coconut — can be found on his Instagram. In it, Atkinson cuts into a coconut before the footage jumps to show what appears to be him in a hospital bed.
In a separate clip, Atkinson also shared a graphic image of his arm a couple of weeks post-accident.
The practice of cutting up foods — particularly fruit — while the poster speaks directly to the camera is another frequent TikTok trend — and one that users may want to be particularly careful while filming to avoid knife injuries like "avocado hand."
Atkinson told Insider he never thought something he'd done so many times before would go so poorly. "Just goes to show that accidents can happen in a split second," he shared in a direct message on Instagram. "I'm so thankful my neighbors were there to help."
Atkinson's experience isn't the first reported case of social media usage contributing to real-life accidents and injuries. People have accidentally died trying to capture selfies or while participating in online challenges. A 2021 study suggested a correlation between social media usage and search-and-rescue (SAR) operations in US National Parks.
"Social media may be associated with SAR incidents via users motivating others to obtain photos or videos through risky or dangerous means," researchers said.
Atkinson, for his part, seems to be grateful for his luck and self-effacing about the mistake. Responding to a comment that read, "I totally get this is serious, but I can not stop laughing," Atkinson said in a TikTok, "And you're not alone. I also thought it was pretty fricking funny that, of all things, a coconut almost killed me. That's literally embarrassing."