Teen boy in a serious condition following ‘choking game’
Published 10/10/2013 | 06:51
A TEENAGE boy is in a serious condition in hospital today after taking part in what’s known as the ‘choking game’.
The boy, who is in his early teens, was rushed to Temple Street Children's hospital in an unconscious and critical condition.
The boy is now in a stable but serious condition.
It later emerged he had been involved in a 'choking game', which is sometimes practiced by children aged between 11 and 16 years of age.
Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Temple Street Children's Hospital's Dr Kevin Carson confirmed this was the first known case of the 'choking' or 'fainting' game in Ireland.
He explained the game is when people “engage in activity, by either self-strangulation or with a group of friends, by either applying hands to their neck and cutting off the blood supply to the brain by the carotid artery or by applying a noose or ligature to their neck.
“Essentially what they’re doing is putting the ligature around the neck to the point where they become unconscious, and just before they become unconscious hey get a euphoric high.”
He also said there was a misconception that the high was ‘safe’ as it didn’t involve drugs: “The delusion is they can get a high without drugs and that it is safe, but it is far from safe.
“It’s very dangerous, it can have varying effects on the brain because the brain is starved of oxygen for a while and people have had loss of attention spans, short term memory loss, seizures.
“Other children will actually end up dying and others will become severely handicapped with severe brain injury.”
Although this is the first case in Temple Street, the doctor warned that anecdotal evidence suggests it is going on around the country.
“This is the first case we’ve had in temple Street although anecdotally from talking to parents we’re aware it’s going on around the country in different locations.
“We want to highlight to parents the dangers of this and to young people in particularly.
“The message that’s going out there is that this is not a dangerous thing and this is incorrect, this is very dangerous, and you can end up with severe brain damage or dead.”
He also confirmed that although the majority of cases involve boys, girls have also died from taking part.
“If you look at the number of patients in America - there have been 82 deaths recorded from this and the majority of these were in boys, but it’s both boys and girls.”
Young people are also finding instructions on how to perform the choke on YouTube and other social media, he warned.
“We’d like to make parents aware of this. This is featuring very highly on YouTube, but it’s more a ‘how to do it’ manual than warning of the dangers.”
A warning was first issued by health authorities here in 2010.
It came after an American organisation highlighted the dangers of the ‘choking game’ which is thought to have spread to Britain at the time. This prompted the Irish health authorities to issue a similar warning.
Staff at America’s Connect With Kids said parents, teachers and teenagers should be aware of the risks posed by "the choking game", which is thought to have claimed the lives of a number of American children in 2010.
The organisation issued the warning after an inquest heard how a 13-year-boy from Essex, England, died while apparently playing the "game".
Teenagers apparently play the game in order to restrict oxygen to their brains and "get a high".