Thursday, April 16, 2009

The choking game

It's a new one on me--the choking game, or the fainting game. I came across a blog post by a distraught father whose son died this way. The post didn't explain the choking game very well, but I found an interesting entry on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia references a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found that 82 children 6-19 years old died while playing this game between 1995 and 2007.

Those numbers are far too small to show up on any broad assessment of health risks to teens.

But each one of those deaths represents a devastated family, with parents and sibilings who might never entirely recover.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Paul,

    I first learned of the choking game in 2005 after my own son died. There is no system that can track these deaths at this point. What the CDC was able to do was to show that these TCG deaths are real, that the distribution of ages was different for TCG than the distribution for suicide and that boys are more likely to die than girls. 82 is the number of cases they were able to verify via the media. Any child who's parents had not gone to the media by 10/2007 was not counted.

    Emerging teen risk behvior survey studies show that 7 to 20 % of youth play these so called games. So, while the number of deaths that were culled from the media may seem low, (actually 82 is more than enough to pay attention to) we know that there are many not counted and that there are huge numbers of kids at risk for injury and death because they participate.

    For more info see,
    or go to the CDC web site.

    Patricia Russell MD