22 Push-Up Challenge hopes to save the lives of veterans

Move over ice buckets, there’s a new challenge rippling through social media: push ups. Twenty-two, in fact.

You knock them out, then challenge someone else to do it. Everyone from stars like John Krasinski and The Rock to a class of Texas state trooper recruits is getting involved.

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The Rock does the push-up challenge.

Instagram/The Rock

The 22 Push-Up Challenge is designed to focus attention on a tragedy, reports CBS News’ Jim Axelrod. For years, it was estimated that 22 veterans committed suicide each day -- 7,400 a year.

“When the statistics came out that 22 veterans a day were committing suicide it was almost unbelievable. We wanted to find out more where this number came from,” said Retired Marine Don Nguyen, deputy director of 22Kill, the foundation behind the challenge.

Two summers ago, the Ice Bucket Challenge raised $115 million. But 22Kill says their primary goal is to raise awareness, not money.

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A class of Texas state trooper recruits does the challenge.

YouTube/TXDPS

Rusty Carter is an Army vet who tried to kill himself after coming home from Iraq in 2011.

“If I knew of an organization at the time that was doing what we are at 22Kill, I don’t feel I would’ve attempted suicide.”

Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs adjusted that number down to 20 veterans a day who take their own lives. The number may have changed, but the mission hasn’t.

“We are not going to be done until it is zero. And we are not going to change our name of a new study. What matters is that the number is going down and not up,” Nguyen said.

The hope is to keep that number moving in the right direction, 22 push-ups at a time.