Doctors, local leaders warn parents about deadly 'choking game'

Doctors, local leaders warn parents about deadly 'choking game'

(WTOL) - Two Whittier Elementary students have died since the beginning of the school year.

Da'Shia McClain, 11,  died Sunday, just a month after Taquairius McDonald, 11, took his life.

Now doctors and community leaders are speaking out, warning parents about a deadly game surfacing on social media.

It's called the choking game or pass out challenge.

Similar to the ice bucket challenge, one person completes the task and then passes the challenge onto someone else. But rather than playing with buckets of ice, kids are playing with their lives.

"There is a euphoria that is temporary, very temporary associated with a loss of oxygen. It's not addicting, but it is a free way to get high and that is why kids do it," said Dr. David Johnson, from Mercy St. Vincent hospital.

The Choking game, has surfaced from time to time, but now many are being challenged over social media apps like Snapchat, to take the pass out challenge. There's even a hashtag on Instagram and Twitter filled with posts of kids recording themselves and friends being choked.

"We are aware of it and definitely sending information out to our counseling staff so they can be aware and empowered and so we can share that info. The more we know, the more we can prevent this from happening in the future," said Heather Baker of Toledo Public Schools.

Dr. Johnson says kids are holding their breath until they pass out, using objects to choke themselves and even having friends press on their chest to constrict air to the brain. It's the difference between seconds that is making this game or challenge deadly.

"If they don't know when to stop it could lead to death very easily," said Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson recommends parents look for warning signs like bruising around your child's neck, headaches, or maybe memory loss. he also says its important to keep tabs on their phone and social media sites they may be on.

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