High school footballer, 16, left ‘unrecognizable’ after TikTok trend turns bad

A North Carolina teenager is in a hospital burn unit where he is undergoing treatment for severe injuries after a TikTok trend went terribly wrong, leaving the high school football star “unrecognizable” according to his mother.

Mason Dark suffered his traumatic injuries while reportedly attempting to create a makeshift blowtorch using a lighter and a can of spray paint but unlike the videos that have been posted to the Chinese-owned social media app, the stunt backfired, causing a fiery explosion that engulfed the 16-year-old.

“He is unrecognizable, unrecognizable,” said Holli Dark, whose son is now at the UNC Burn Center and facing months of recovery after having nearly 80 percent of his body burned in the accident.

(Video: YouTube/WRAL)

“They all heard a big boom, and then Mason came running out and [he] started taking off his shirt,” she added, according to local news outlet WRAL.

The injured teenager jumped into the river to soothe the pain from the burns before he was rushed to the hospital.

“[We] come to find out now from the surgery, that he’s got the third-degree burns … it’s like a T in his back and it was from him taking off his shirt, and then it got stuck or something,” Dark said, according to WRAL.

“We did not find out until yesterday that it was actually 76% of his body,” she said of Mason who is “wrapped like a mummy” at the burn treatment facility.

“The way he looked when those kids saw him when he first came in, to what he looks like now, it’s 100 times different,” Dark said of Mason who is expected to remain at the UNC Burn Center for at least six months for treatment.

“It is challenges on TikTok,” she said. “I guess kids have been doing this a long time.”

@mc_spraypaint But then realizing#spraypaint #insect#foryoupage ♬ Its time. – Matthew

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Mason.

“My son Mason, needs your prayers. 75% of his body is burned. The accident occurred the afternoon of Sunday, April 23, 2023. He jumped into a river to extinguish the flames. The risk of infection from the river water is high, on top of having 2nd and 3rd degree burns. We are thankful to be at the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill. It is one of the top in the nation. Mason has a long road ahead of him. Please pray for his recovery. He is in an incredible amount of pain and is sedated. The first of many surgeries will be Wednesday, April 26,” wrote Holli Dark.

“I am asking for prayers for the family, Holli, Julian and brother Austin (13) and any help with their needs: medical bills, gas, food, and housing during this time. Both Holli and Julian are self-employed and will try and balance some amount of work,” she added. “Mason is a very active 16 yr old. Plays football for his high school and runs track in the summer for a local club. He has a job that he enjoys. He looks forward to getting his license. We thank you for your prayers and support.”

(Image: Screenshot/GoFundMe)

“Just a quick update…Mason has made it past the first 24 hrs, Praise the Lord! They are trying to regulate his body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. He has handled that today which they were pleased with. They seem to have the medication figured out for now so he hasn’t woke up or got agitated. We thank everyone that has donated! We are humbled by everyone’s kindness! We thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, support and love. Thank you for everyone that has offered help with Austin or help with other needs. Please keep praying!!!! The Lord is in control! . (Purple is Mason’s favorite color),” reads an update on Mason’s GoFundMe page.

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