Dangerous Game: Students Choking Each Other

Students are playing a dangerous game in Connecticut schools

North Haven Middle School teachers and administrators are worried about a game the kids are playing.

We're not talking about dodge ball or tag here - this is the "Choking Game."

Children or adolescents either choke each other or use a noose to choke themselves. After just a short time, children can pass out, which may lead to serious injury or even death from hanging or strangulation, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Nine boys and girls tried out the game in bathrooms between class periods last week before word got out, North Haven Middle School school leaders said.

"My biggest fear was someone could get seriously hurt," Principal Philip Piazza told the New Haven Register.

"The biggest thing I worried about was their safety. At this age, they feel invincible. The kids were scared after we pointed out the life consequences," he told the newspaper.

The kids who took part in the game knew tried it after reading about it on the Internet, he said.

Across the country, 82 probable choking-game deaths have been reported among youth.

The game involves actual choking to produce a euphoric, dreamlike feeling that comes when blood rushes back to the brain.

Listen to a podcast on the choking game here.

Piazza said the students said they felt woozy and were close to passing out. No one was hurt.

The students now face disciplinary measures.

Evan O'Connor, 12, a student in Stamford, died in February 2006 after playing the game, the New Haven Register reported.

According to the CDC, warning signs include the following:

  • Discussion of the game or its aliases
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Marks on the neck
  • Wearing high-necked shirts, even in warm weather
  • Frequent, severe headaches
  • Disorientation after spending time alone
  • Increased and uncharacteristic irritability or hostility
  • Ropes, scarves and belts tied to bedroom furniture or doorknobs or found knotted on the floor
  • The unexplained presence of dog leashes, choke collars, bungee cords, etc.
  • Petechiae (pinpoint bleeding spots) under the skin of the face, especially the eyelids, or the conjunctiva (the lining of the eyelids and eyes) on the floor.

Other Names for the Choking Game

  • Pass-out game
  • Space monkey
  • Suffocation roulette
  • Scarf game
  • The American dream
  • Fainting game 
  • Something dreaming game 
  • Purple hazing
  • Blacking out/blackout
  • Dream game
  • Flat liner
  • California choke 
  • Space cowboy
  • Airplaning 
  • Purple dragon 
  • Cloud nine
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