Students at an Oahu middle school are playing a potentially deadly game that has school administrators and neurologists extremely concerned. The game has many different names but is most commonly known as the choking game or the fainting game. But the choking game is really not a game at all. Still, children across the country are playing it, even in Hawaii.
"As of yesterday, we got wind that kids were playing that fainting or choking game," said Steve Warner, Vice Principal at Kawananakoa Middle School.
The game refers to intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain which often leads to temporary fainting. Some describe a feeling of euphoria.
"What that feeling is, is the brain warning you that you’re going to pass out and what the brain wants to do is then protect itself," said neurologist Dr. Melvin Yee.
On Wednesday a seventh grader at Kawananakoa Middle School was injured while playing the game on campus.
"We saw one example of it, one kid got injured came up to the health room because they were going to try catch him but this kid fell and hit his head pretty bad," said Warner.
The school’s principal immediately sent an email to parents, alerting them what some students are doing on campus and at home.
"A lot of kids have been coming up they’ve been telling this guy has been doing this and this student has been doing this," said Warner. "They’re posting it on their phones or on their Facebook. We want to encourage positive communication. Unfortunately, again kids are learning and they may take that media and not think about what they’re talking about or something exciting for them.
They continued their message Thursday.
"Myself on the other Vice Principal went on our closed-circuit TV to tell the staff and students what was going on and we directed them to stop that immediately," said Warner.
"That’s very frightening to me," said Yee. "I think that this is something that all parents and all schools should be aware of and we should stop it before something very dangerous happens and something that’s irreversible to some child and that would be a horrible catastrophe."
Yee says the game can be deadly.
"What they’re essentially doing is they’re inducing a partial cardiac arrest," said Yee. "They’re not getting enough blood and enough oxygen to the brain. If you don’t get enough oxygen to the brain they are having like a convulsion and so they’ll have a few jerks like that and that’s a sign that brain is already injured."
Resulting in seizures, memory loss, movement disorders…
"..and at the worst case they could die," said Yee. "This is a terrible thing, it’s a dangerous thing it shouldn’t be done."
Health officials say they don’t know the actual number of deaths these games have caused because there is no public health agency tracking them. But according to the Dangerous Behaviors Foundation, 75 percent of middle school aged children across the nation already know about it. Their parents don’t.
"Some parents had no idea so some were thankful that we had gotten the message out to them," said Warner.
Kawananakoa Middle School‘s principal met with other principals Thursday to discuss the issue.
"Without the brain the body is nothing and you need to protect it," said Yee. "We should never induce that in someone, it’s a dangerous and terrible thing to do."
See the original article at: KHON2 Local News