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Air Force Academy brawl injures 27 cadets

DENVER — The Air Force Academy said 27 cadets were injured in a brawl during an unofficial ritual marking the first snowfall of the season.

Six cadets were taken to an off-campus hospital after the Oct. 25 ruckus and have been released, the academy said Wednesday. The others were treated at a cadet clinic.

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The injuries included concussions, cuts, and a human bite, and some cadets required stitches, Brigadier General Dana Born wrote in an internal e-mail that was provided to the Associated Press and other media outlets. Academy officials confirmed the e-mail is authentic.

Born is dean of faculty.

Academy officials were treating the incident as a ‘‘teachable moment,’’ said Lieutenant Colonel John Bryan, a school spokesman. He said he did not know of any plans to discipline cadets.

Brigadier General Gregory Lengyel, the commandant of cadets, said in a statement that the brawl was unacceptable.

Lengyel did not say how many cadets were involved but said it was a ‘‘relatively small number.’’

The ritual is called ‘‘First Shirt/First Snow’’ and involves freshmen trying to throw cadet first sergeants — known as first shirts — into the snow.

‘‘Obviously, this has gotten out of hand and cannot be repeated,’’ Born wrote.

Born wrote that Lengyel said cadets could propose keeping the ritual if they found a way to avoid violence.

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