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6/6/12blog post

sobering up to the choking game

Recently, Dayton Children’s brought in a speaker, Scott Metheny, a police officer from Pennsylvania, to educate parents and caregivers about The Choking Game. I was vaguely familiar with this “game” and was highly interested in hearing what Scott had to say.

The Choking Game, which isn’t a game at all, is a name given to an activity which children (we’re talking as young as first grade) will intentionally hold their breath or allow themselves to be “choked” in order to decrease oxygen to the brain. Oxygen rushing back into the brain will give them a momentary high. However, this activity causes brain damage and even death.

Scott’s talk was sobering because he shared stories from a support group of parents who have lost children to this “game.” Hundreds, if not thousands, of parents. The scary part of this game is that kids think, because they aren’t doing drugs or drinking, they aren’t doing anything wrong. And even if kids aren’t actively participating in the game – it’s out there. They can learn it at school, church camp, summer camp and at sleepovers. It can touch children in every demographic – every age, race and gender.

The game isn’t new – members in the audience shared stories of playing the game when they were children. We’re just beginning to connect the dots on how widespread this activity actually is – and social media is only accelerating it.

If you are a parent, teacher, school nurse, boy scout or girl scout leader, pastor, or anyone who cares about kids – educate yourself. For more information visit: