AUSTIN, Texas - 21-year-old Saa Fomba of Southeast Austin says he never expected a video of him jumping off the Pennybacker Bridge, to get national media attention. “I did it for the likes and follows,” he told FOX 7 Austin in an interview Tuesday.
“And, I don’t regret it.” Fomba had 400 Youtube followers before posting the video. “Now I have 1,400.”
Fomba says he knew he was risking his life, but didn’t think he would get hurt. “I’ve been an athlete my entire life, I am African,” he added.
Yet, the 21-year-old was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery. Doctors told him he fractured his skull and endured a brain bleed.
“He wants to feel he didn’t have a negative outcome, but he has a brain injury. And, he is not out of the woods,” said Adolescent Psychologist Roseann Capanna-Hodge. “Brain injuries can impact you in the short and long-term.”
Our society is partially to blame, she says. “We love that shock value. Before TV, it was the circus.” Now, she says, “videos like this get rewarded, even monetized on Youtube.”
The social media platform took the video down Monday, telling FOX 7 Austin: “YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm or death. We remove flagged videos that violate our policies” said Alex Joseph, a YouTube spokesperson.
Capanna-Hodge hopes the video prompts a national conversation about risky social media behavior. “What I would love for kids to do… talk about this with their friends and their families. In a group, most kids are going to say, can you believe that kid who jumped off a bridge?”
Fomba told FOX 7 Austin he was slowly recovering Tuesday. “I didn’t do this video to tell anyone to go jump off a bridge. This is just me living my life, reporting it, putting it on Youtube."
Austin police strongly encourage people not to jump off or dive off of any bridge, adding that the act is illegal, a misdemeanor, which can lead to a $500 fine.