Warning Issued After Viral ‘Choking Game’ Kills 15-Year-Old

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A fatal game which went viral and resulted in the death of a 15-year-old has resurfaced, and is being played again in schools.

The ‘choking game’ became popular across Australian schools a few years ago, with teenagers in Brisbane picking up on the trend.

It entails someone intentionally depriving themselves of oxygen – either by themselves or with the help of someone else – until they faint. All of this is filmed by another person.

The terrifying footage of the person passing out while being choked will then be posted on social media.

According to The Courier-Mail, parents from Kelvin Grove State College have recently been alerted by the principal, the game has resurfaced on social media.

Principal Chrissie Coogan emailed the parents, warning:

[The game] involves a student depriving themselves of oxygen to the point of fainting whilst another student films the event.

Sadly, social media and YouTube has more than 36 million results on how to play ‘the game’ including tutorial-style videos, and I am aware that some of our students are accessing these sources in their own time.

Sadly, the game has been linked to more than one death, including that of a 15-year-old girl in Queensland, back in 2011.

Queensland Health issued a statement yesterday (November 1), warning people about the life-threatening consequences of the trend.

A spokesperson said, as per the Daily Mail:

There is no safe way to starve your brain of oxygen. The sensation people have when they asphyxiate is actually a sign the brain is beginning to shut down.

The risks associated with self-asphyxiation – including death, coma and long-term brain damage – are simply not worth taking.

More recently, an 11-year-old boy from South Carolina died from participating in the ‘game’ in September 2016. Garrett Pope was a year seven student at a Brisbane Catholic school when he discovered the deadly trend.

After his death, his dad took to social media to warn others so they wouldn’t have to suffer the same fate.

He described Garrett as ‘funny, smart and an amazing son to us and brother to his siblings’. He started by saying he wanted to address the rumours surrounding his death.

He wrote:

Please know that his senseless death was not intentional. He took this terrible “game” too far. My family has never felt pain like this before, and we don’t anyone else to go through what we are going through. [sic]

Please talk about this with your kids, and do everything you can to prevent a similar tragedy. He was so young and impressionable, he didn’t know what he was doing, and made a terrible mistake.

We miss him.

As Garrett’s father said, children are impressionable and so the viral side of the ‘game’ will contribute as to why people are continuing to do it.

Dr Robert Glatter of Lennox Hill Hospital told CBS, some children take part in the challenge to get a natural high.

He said:

You’re talking about cutting off blood flow to the brain, which deprives the brain of oxygen.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.


Lucy Connolly

Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).