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What's Choking Game? Warning Signs Parents Must Recognize

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Garrett Pope Jr., an 11-year-old boy from South Carolina was found lifeless in his bedroom after playing the deadly choking game.

According to reports, the sixth grader died last week of accidental asphyxiation when he choked himself to reach a state of euphoria. Garrett Pope Sr., wrote on a Facebook post that his son took this "terrible game" to a horrible level enough to kill himself.

"My family has never felt pain like this before, and we don't [want] anyone else to go through what we are going through. ... [Garrett] was so young and impressionable, he didn't know what he was doing and made a terrible mistake," wrote Pope Sr. on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Stacy Pope, who spoke to the local media about the accident urged parents to discuss this deadly game with their children. Parents shouldn't stop when the children say they have no idea about the game; rather they should educate them about the fatal consequences of the act.

The choking game also known as "dreaming," "ghost," "pass out," or "pass out game" is played by compressing one's chest or strangling the neck enough to stop oxygen supply to the brain. When the blood flow and oxygen supply is cut the person will feel high for an instant. Once the applied pressure is released, the blood flows rapidly to brain giving a feeling of "rush."

The terrible game is mostly played by children aged nine to 14 years old. Strangling for a minute is all it takes to get a child unconscious and death can occur in two to three minutes in some cases. The problem may worsen when children try to get themselves high by strangling the neck with a belt or rope. This would leave them with no option to loosen the knot if they pass out.

Brain damage, damage to the retina, falling down as a result of passing out and death are the risk factors of the deadly game. On the other hand, when a group of nerves in the neck is compressed it may halt the functions of the heart.

Some children may already know that the game is risky, but they may not be aware about how fatal it is. Parents should monitor their children's behavior as well as educate them about the potential risks of the game.

Warning signs that parents must look out for include changes in personality, marks on the neck, marks purposely hidden by a scarf or something of the same kind, permanently turned-up collar, ropes, belts or straps lying next to them for no reason. Bloodshot eyes, flushed face, lack of concentration and headaches are other noticeable signs that parents should be aware of.

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