May 1, 2012

Hang gliding, drag racing, sky diving, bungee jumping, volcano boarding — people of all ages engage in extreme sports like these. The fun is in the danger, and, for some, the more danger the better. A group of Oregon researchers recently published a study about a dangerous activity that pre-teens and teens have been indulging in for decades: It is the choking game

The game goes by other names — fainting, pass out and knock out, among others — and it is inherently dangerous. Very dangerous, in fact: The objective is to induce cerebral hypoxia or, in layman’s terms, to cut off the oxygen flow to the brain. When the blood and oxygen rush back in, the player can experience a euphoric high.

If the blood and oxygen do not rush back in, the player can suffer a wide range of injuries, including brain damage and death. If it occurs in childbirth, cerebral hypoxia can cause cerebral palsy. Families sue doctors whose negligence has contributed to cerebral hypoxia and subsequent birth injuries.

Still, 6.1 percent of the Oregon eighth graders surveyed by the researchers said they had played the choking game. The researchers wanted to know if these kids shared any particular attribute, if there was any way to identify which kids are at risk.

Alcohol, drugs and tobacco use: 16 percent of the boys and 13 percent of girls who admitted to playing the game also admitted to using marijuana, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Sexual activity: While the data for boys is not available, the researchers found that the girls who were sexually active were four times as likely to play the choking game as their counterparts who had never been sexually active.

We’ll finish this up in our next post.

Source:, “Who Is Playing the Choking Game?” Carrie Gann, April 15, 2012


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