that a California teen who died entangled in a Bowflex exercise machine had been playing "the choking game."
In the two years since we reported in-depth on the crazy, dangerous, potentially heartbreaking phenomenon that is the choking game, it seems, little has changed.
These kids, and dozens more on the list, have killed themselves playing the choking game. Their carotid arteries have been squeezed to strangulation by the thumbs of friends. They have tied utility cords and scarves and ropes around their necks and to the tops of doors. They have bent over and hyperventilated to the point of hypocapnia, lowering the carbon dioxide in their blood. They have done this for a high that can be counted in seconds.
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Our Craig Malisow talked to parents, kids and experts who had either been affected by the practice, tried it themselves, or had studied it to find out why it had become so bewilderingly popular.
In the most recent case, 16-year-old Justin Butler of Sacramento, California had been playing the game on his Bowflex machine. Police have determined the death was an accident and not suicide.
The Sacramento Bee reports that his parents will be proactive in speaking out against the practice. Parents everywhere should educate themselves, remember how unthinkingly and temporarily dumb teenagers can be, and take steps to make sure their own kids know what they need to know.
Malisow's story is a great place to start.