East Texas Children Playing a Dangerous New Game

There's a dangerous game children around the nation are playing, and it's even catching on here in East Texas. The game is so dangerous that it can cause immediate death or permanent brain damage.  It's called "The Choking Game," but is also known as gasp, the passout game or the blackout game, and it's just as dangerous as it sounds.

Memorial Hospital Physician Neill White said, "It's where kids usually males between ages of 9 to 16 choke themselves. Either with having their friends choke them or with a belt or a rope."

The point of the deadly game is to cut off blood flow to the brain in exchange for a few seconds of lightheadness. More and more kids are risking their lives by playing it, even here in East Texas. Doctors at Memorial Hospital recently treated a child suspected of playing the choking game. So far, Lufkin ISD officials haven't seen anything suspicious.

"If anything is brought to our attention we will definitely bring it to the attenion of our counselers and our social workers to immediately start working with those parents and those family members to see what's going on and see if we can help," Lufkin ISD Assistant Superintendent Johnny Giles said.

Many kids who play the choking game don't realize just what they're getting into.

"Especially if kids are trying to do it alone. When they use a belt or a rope and they're by themselves, they try to take it off right before they pass out but obviously if they restrict blood flow and don't get it off on time, they can die," White added.

There are signs parents can look for.

"Obviously it causes marks around the neck. Kids that have been practicing this will have a rash on their face, bloodshot eyes, chronic headeyes. Kids that do pass out from this but don't die can fracture bones. They can break arms and legs just from the fall," White told us.

Even those who don't die can be left with permanent brain damage.