12-Year-Old “Fainting Game” Victim Dies From Self-Asphyxiation
A 12-year-old Utah boy has died after taking part in “The Fainting Game”. Tua Muai was a football player and one of eight children. He was, apparently, playing The Fainting Game, also known as “The Choking Game”, with his friends.
In this game, the objective is to cut off air to the brain for long enough so you pass out. There’s supposedly a “high” or “rush” you get when you wake up, but Tua never woke up. His mother, Celestia, discovered him unconscious and rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. She had to plan her son’s funeral on Mother’s Day. A YouCaring page set up to benefit the Muai family has raised nearly $20,000.
The Muai family faced tragedy only two years ago when Celestia’s husband Felise died unexpectedly due to complications from pneumonia.
Variations of The Fainting Game go back decades, but social media allows it to spread quickly under certain names. It was described in 2014 as “The Knock-Out Challenge”, and there was even a Lifetime movie in 2014 about it called “The Choking Game”. The trailer for that movie says “1,000 kids die from it every year” but, that isn’t quite true.
Data from the CDC says that 82 children died playing The Choking Game between 1995 and 2007 and that over 1,400 children died from accidental hanging and strangulation from 2000 to 2015. But, just because it’s an epidemic, that doesn’t mean you should try it. Depriving your brain of oxygen for any amount of time is dangerous and can have catastrophic effects on the body. Doctors say brain cells die quickly after being deprived of oxygen, and if someone doesn’t wake up in a few minutes, it can cause irreversible brain damage.
Sharon Grant started a group called Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play (or GASP), in 2005, after her son Jesse died playing The Choking Game with a computer cord.
If the Internet’s shown us anything, it’s that young people are always going to do dangerous things without thinking about the consequences. What parents and doctors hope is that these tragic experiences can educate people so they don’t happen as often. Celestia says she wants to do anything she can to warn other parents about the dangers of this challenge. She said: “There’s nothing that can take the pain away but if it can save one child, one parent, one family…. then it will make more sense.”
What do you guys think? Is there a more effective way to educate kids about the dangers of this challenge? Let us know in the comments.
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