The choking game is one name for a set of risky activities that have been popular among school aged children and teens for generations. The object of the "game" is to stop blood flow from the neck to the brain until the player passes out using a choke hold, or a ligature such as a belt, scarf, or rope. Other methods include pressing on the chest or breath holding after hyperventilation until loss of consciousness occurs. In yet another version, players compete to see who can avoid passing out the longest (tap out). All of these methods do the same thing – they deprive the brain of oxygen.
Kids do it because it is interesting, silly, seems exciting or cool or as a way to get a rush or high. Some who have participated describe brief feelings of floating, tingling, dreaming or euphoria. Most kids learn about pass out games from their friends or from the internet and believe that they are fun and harmless. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
These feelings players get are the result of injured or dying brain cells. Decreasing oxygen to the brain can cause brain damage ranging from a minor decrease in intellectual capacity to a profound and permanent vegetative state. Vision loss, behavioral changes, headaches, addiction to the activity and concussions and broken bones due to falls are other potential consequences. Most deaths have occurred by strangulation when kids try this alone but accidental strangulations have occured in group settings and at least two deaths and multiple injuries have resulted from falls during group play.
*(Choking game is the name most often used in the media. This activity ismore likely to be known as airplaining, black out, breath play, california dreaming, california knockout, chinese knockout, choke out, cloud nine, elevator game, fainting game, faith, ghost, intendo desmayo, knockout challange, morman high, pass out challenge, pass out game, purple dragon, rising sun, rope game, scarf game, space monkey, take me down, tap out or other names by youth).
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