Skipping proper winter gear when going out partying is fairly common among college students — after all, a heavy coat, gloves and snow boots are hardly considered fashionable. But it’s a move that could cost you limbs, or even your life.
Alyssa Lommel knows this all too well. She was a sophomore at the University of Minnesota in 2013 when she lost all her fingers and toes after she nearly froze to death following a party.
It started with drinks at home, Lommel told Inside Edition. Then she went to a party at a friend’s house. At 10 p.m., she was dropped off at home. But she never made it past the front door; she couldn’t get inside and fell asleep outside on a porch.
Temperatures that evening dropped to 17 degrees below zero. Lommel was wearing just a long sleeve shirt, jeans, a thin fleece jacket and boots. Her hands were completely bare.
When she was found outside the next morning, she was rushed to a local hospital, where she underwent multiple amputations as doctors tried to save her.
“I had to relearn every single thing in my life,” Lommel said of her recovery. “I had to relearn how to open a book. … Simple things people don’t think about because it’s just so basic.”
But Lommel was one of the lucky ones. An Iowa college student died of hypothermia in 2011, after passing out outside when he forgot his keys to the dormitory where he lived, according to The Associated Press. He was wearing just long pants and two T-shirts.
Inside Edition visited the University of Minnesota, where Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero found tons of college students walking around without appropriate winter clothes.
“Why aren’t you wearing a coat tonight?” Guerrero asked one girl.
“Because it ruins the outfit,” she replied.
Another said she didn’t “want to carry a jacket inside a bar.”
Lommel has a message for those students.
“Put on a coat!” she said. “Put on a hat! Put on mittens! You may think it’s uncool, you may be worried, ‘What if I leave it somewhere?’ What if it gets stolen?’
“What if you lose your life?”