CDC Issues Death Count, Warns Parents About ‘Choking Game’

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal health officials are issuing a warning about a “choking game.”

It’s a fad among teens and preteens in which children wrap dog leashes, bungee cords or other things around their necks to temporarily cut blood flow to the head. When the blood rushes back into the brain, it can create a dreamlike feeling.

But it also can be deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 82 youths have died from the game. And the study’s authors say that’s probably an undercount, because many of the deaths are not differentiated from accidental strangling or suicides on death certificates.

The CDC says nearly all the deaths were youths playing alone. It’s urging parents to watch for warning signs including bloodshot eyes, marks on the neck, frequent and severe headaches and disorientation.