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Choking Game Poses Serious Health Threats to Unsuspecting Teens


By Alf Gordon(13,356)

Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2008
View All Blog Posts submitted by Alf Gordon


The craze has been around for years, and is surging in popularity again among tweens and teens.  No drugs are involved, yet the consequences can be deadly--and have been for over 80 young people since the mid-1990s.  And what's unnerving is I remember participating in this in my early college days.

Known by names such as the "Fainting Game", "Choking Game", or "Flatlining", it's a way for kids to experience a bit of euphoria without resorting to using drugs.  Essentially pressure is placed on a person's body in such a way that oxygen is cut off to the brain, bringing lightheadedness, dizziness, and temporary unconsciousness.  When done in a group setting the observers can watch the participant twitch and moan as he revives, something that's pretty amusing to the onlookers.  And because it happens without the use of alcohol or drugs, it's deemed safe by the teens who participate.

The "safe" part of the game is what's deceiving.  Children have died because they played the "game" alone or as a result of physical damage incurred during the "game".  Many more have experienced brain damage and other neurological problems because of lack of oxygen to the brain.  And yet the kids blow off the warnings because, after all, it's the adults who are telling them this stuff, most likely to scare them into being good (which translates into not having any fun).

I remember seeing others doing it during my high school years.  I may even have participated, although I honestly can't remember.  But I do remember one day in the fall of 1975, my first semester of college.  My dormmates and I were sitting around talking.  Don't ask me how we got on the topic, but the "game" came up.  Of course, being red-blooded American guys, we had to give it a shot.  Each of the four of us took our turn (don't ask me for details, because I'm not going to be responsible for some idiot kid saying, "Ah, so THAT'S how you do it!" and then killing himself making the attempt).  And yes, it WAS funny to watch somebody slump to the floor, making guttural noises and twitching.  I recall when it was my turn, things went all black, and when I woke up, I had the tingling sensation in my arms and legs that means they've "fallen asleep" and are "waking up".  I also remember a horrible pain in my leg.  Turns out that when I passed out, the guy who was holding me up didn't do such a good job (I wasn't a small person back then either), and let me fall to the floor with my leg buckled under me.  As I tried to collect my senses and attempted to roll off my leg (which caused even more pain), my roommates stood there laughing all the more.

With the sounds of merrymaking coming from our room, it didn't take long for other guys in the dorm to come down to see what was going on.  Soon we had a larger group of guys all lined up to take their turn.  We were having a great time, until our floor mom decided he wanted to have a go at it.  When he passed out, everybody laughed.  When we laid him on the floor, everybody laughed.  When a minute had gone by and he still hadn't come out of it, the laughter stopped.  After two minutes, concern turned to outright fear.  Our efforts to wake him produced no results.  Fortunately he did eventually come to, but by the time he did we were dangerously close to panic.  For us, that was the end of the "game".  I never tried it again, and never attempted to explain it to anyone who wanted to know.  That was just too close to dangerous to risk doing.

Tweens and teens think they're immortal.  I know we did.  But playing "games" like this can lead to serious consequences.  If you know of someone who's doing this, let them know the dangers they're opening themselves up to.  Yeah, I sound like a parent.  But having walked the edge, I think it's best to be safe and risk a teen's ire than be sorry because I didn't say anything and watched a young person lose health or even life.




This Blog Post has been read 347 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Tuesday, February 19, 2008
View other posts by Alf Gordon

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