Thursday, February 14, 2008

CDC puts out data on "Choking Game" deaths

The CDC has finally begun to look at the “Choking Game”. In this “game” an individual, usually a teenager, chokes themselves or has someone choke them to get a “high”. It is incredibly dangerous with severe anoxic brain damage or death as a possible result.
Because no traditional public health dataset collects mortality data on this practice, CDC used news media reports to estimate the incidence of deaths from the choking game. This report describes the results of that analysis, which identified 82 probable choking-game deaths among youths aged 6--19 years, during 1995--2007. Seventy-one (86.6%) of the decedents were male, and the mean age was 13.3 years.
These demographics are consistent with greater risk-taking behavior among boys than girls…
Parents, educators, and health-care providers should learn about the choking game and be able to recognize any of the following warning signs in youths: mention of the choking game (or the game by its other names); bloodshot eyes; marks on the neck; frequent, severe headaches; disorientation after spending time alone; and ropes, scarves, and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor.

I wrote about it in 2006 after it resulted in a death here. Talking with his mother and family at the time and a memorial rally shortly after, reinforced the tragedy of a life ended before the youth’s potential could be fully realized.

Be aware and get kids help before they end up in my office. As I wrote in 2006:
The “high” someone gets from this “game” is the brain screaming for oxygen, pleading, not wanting to die. The odds really are stacked against the “player”. Some brain cells will die every time you “play”. The roulette part is the very real risk of “winning” death.

Think, make good choices, don’t take chances.

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