One in 16 kids in Oregon has played the ‘choking game’ with more than a quarter admitting to have played the game at least 5 times, a study says.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, was led by public health officials in Oregon. The team surveyed 5000 eight graders to see if they had participated in the ‘choking game’.
The choking game, known by other names like the Fainting Game, Black out Game, Knockout Game, Dying Game, Space Monkey, Trip to Heaven etc., is a game where the player intentionally cuts off oxygen supply to the brain to induce a sense of euphoria or ‘rush’.
The choking game can result in deaths, seizures, brain damage and even fatal head injuries from falling on the ground.
“The more times you repeat something like this, the better the chances of a bad outcome,” said Robert Nystrom of the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland, who worked on the study.
In a separate study published in 2009 in the journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that ‘close to one third of the physicians surveyed were unaware of the choking game’. The survey was conducted to assess awareness of the choking game among physicians.
Choking game has been linked to sexual excitement among children. Nystron and colleagues found that children who were sexually active and those who used drugs or alcohol were more likely to have played the game.
82 deaths were reported by the media from 1995 through 2007 - says U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts say that internet is making these games more attractive than ever before.
“I think the ability to spread the word about it via the Internet is adding some fuel to the fire,” said W. Hobart Davis, a psychologist from the University of Wisconsin who also studied the choking game.