Choking game dangers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Choking game dangers


It's a game with deadly consequences.

Kids from elementary school to high school are trying what's called the choking game.

They choke themselves on purpose trying to get high.

It's a game that kills anywhere from 250 to 1000 people each year around the world.

Here in Dane County, law enforement admit it's something they are keeping a close eye on, and believe more education is needed.

In a recent survey of kids in the US, 75 percent said they're familiar with the choking game.

For parents, that number is far lower.

You talk to your kids about the dangers of drinking, smoking, unprotected sex, and one Dane County Sheriff's Deputy says, you should be talking to your kids about the dangers of the choking game.

Past news clips show how deadly the game can be.

"A Leedsburg 12 year old died playing the choking game."

"14 year old Jeffery Peak of Elmsburg played the choking game and lost."

The game is not always deadly.

A 15 year old Minnesota boy woke up, but it's like he's starting over.

He has to re-learn how to walk and talk.

And as we found on the internet, for many kids, the choking game is just that, a game.

"All of a sudden you just get light headed, everything goes blurry, basically, you pass out and when you wake up, your whole body is tingly.", says Melissa.

While it's commonly known as the choking game, kids have come up with a handful of other names, the suffocation game, blackout, flatliner, etc.

Melissa didn't want to be identified, but admits to playing the game as a teenager.

"Now I look back and ask myself what was I thinking, why would I ever try this.", she says.

Kids are playing the game in groups or alone, choking themselves with their hands, ropes, belts, anything that can be tied in a knot.

Basically, the act of choking cuts off the blood flow to the brain, and you start feeling light headed, as Melissa described.

When the pressure is too much the choking stops, and all the backed up blood flows to the brain all at once.

The reported "high" is the result of brain cells dying off.

Dane County Sheriff's Deputy, Cindy Holmes says, "These kids don't realize that everytime you restrict blood flow and oxygen to the brain you're causing a little damage everytime."

Deputy Holmes, as well as Deputy Josalyn Longley and Deputy Leslie Fox of the Dane County Sheriff's Department have taken an active role in educating parents and school staff about the dangers of the choking game.

Deputy Holmes says Wisconsin has reported a handful of deaths, but can't confirm any here in Dane County.

"Our fear is that if we don't do the educational stuff up front, and do some preventable stuff, that we will see deaths at some point. It's only a matter of time.", she says.

She wants to see parents talking to their kids about the dangers of the game.

Open the lines of communication, ask questions, and monitor what they are talking about with friends both in person and on-line.

Deputy Holmes says it's important kids know they could potentially die from it, or physically never be the same.

"As a parent and adult, you need to let them know these are the things that can happen, it's not just fun and games."

Here are a few signs to watch for, blood shot eyes, unusual marks on the neck, complaints of a headache, injuries that your child can't explain, and in some cases a change in personality.

To this day, Melissa can remember vividly, the last time she played the game with friends.

"All of a sudden she started shaking, it was almost like a siezure, and we had never seen anything like it before, so we were panicked, yelling go get your mom. We were shaking her, yelling her name, trying to get her to wake up.", says Melissa.

Her friend did wake up, and it woke up her and her friends to the dangers of the game.

Melissa says she and her friends would play the game at sleep overs or get togethers.

And everytime the game was played, she says a parent was home.

They were just in another room.

Deputy Holmes says the choking game is often referred to as the good kids game, because the kids who play it, are not necessarily the kids you would associate with risky behaviors like doing drugs and drinking alcohol.

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