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'Choking Game' Turned Deadly for 82 Youths
By contrast, suicide deaths attributed to hanging/suffocation tend to increase every year and peak at the age of 19. The report did not include suicide attempts or autoerotic activity, which is considered a different behavior. It also did not include injuries from the choking game, which can include loss of consciousness, concussion, fractures, hemorrhages of the eyes, as well as permanent neurological disabilities such as seizures.
Deaths were identified in 31 states, with no geographic concentration. The report also included case studies of two individuals who had died.
The first was of a 13-year-old boy who died at a hospital one hour after his mother found him in the corner of his bedroom with a belt around his neck. After his death, teens told the director of a local counseling agency that the game had been played at local parties. The second case was that of a 13-year-old girl whose brother found her dead one morning, hanging from a belt and shoelace fashioned into a noose on the door of her bedroom closet. She had died the night before. Prior to her death, the girl had told a cousin that she had played the choking game at her school's locker room and that another group of girls at her school had been suspended for playing the game.
The warning signs that your child might be playing this game include:
discussion of the game, including other terms for it;bloodshot eyes;marks on the neck;severe headaches;disorientation after spending time alone;ropes, scarves and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor;unexplained presence of things like dog leashes, choke collars and bungee cords;
For more on the choking game, visit Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play.
SOURCE: Feb. 14, 2008, teleconference with Robin L. Toblin, Ph.D., National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Feb. 15, 2008,Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report