What do “games” like Blackout, Flatliner, Fainting Game, California Choke, Dream Game, Airplaning, Suffocation Roulette, Space Cowboy and the Pass-Out Game have in common they are deadly.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) on February 14, 2008 warned parents, teachers, and health care providers about the so-called choking game, which has killed at least 82 U.S. youths since 1995.
“The choking game involves intentionally trying to choke oneself or someone else with one’s hand or a noose to attain a brief euphoric state or high. If the strangulation is prolonged, which is something that can happen very quickly, death or a serious injury can result,” explains Robin Toblin, PhD, MPH, of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Warning Signs of the Choking Game
The CDC urges parents, teachers, and health care workers to learn the possible warning signs of the choking game:
* Discussion of the game, including other names for it, such as “pass-out game” or “space monkey”
* Bloodshot eyes
* Marks on the neck
* Severe headaches
* Disorientation after spending time alone
* Ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor
* The unexplained presence of dog leashes, choke collars, and bungee cords.
Prevent and educate
“If parents believe their child is playing the choking game, they should speak to them about the life-threatening dangers associated with the game and seek additional help if necessary,” Toblin said.
Rise in Choking Game Deaths
The Web site GASP, which stands for Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play, reports that 65 children died in 2007 alone. Mark Lepore, an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Chatham College in Pittsburgh, told The Houston Press last year that he believed 1,800 people in the United States had died playing the game in the past 10 years; most were children and teenagers.
Most of the deaths were among boys ages 11 to 16, and the average age was 13, the report said. Choking game deaths were identified in 31 states. “Because most parents in the study had not heard of the choking game, we hope to raise awareness of the choking game among parents, health care providers, and educators, so they can recognize warning signs of the activity,” said Robin L. Toblin, the study’s lead author. “This is especially important because children themselves may not appreciate the dangers of this activity.”
The Choking Game -Levi Draher came back from the dead. Other players were not so lucky. – Craig Malisow Houston Press News April 18, 2007
CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Feb. 15, 2008; vol 57: pp 141-144. – Robin Toblin, PhD, MPH, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Image courtesy of Houston Press News and YouTube.com