Schools Warn About ‘Choking Challenge’

No One Hurt In ‘Game’ So Far, Officials Say

Robert Moore Herald Staff

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Officials at Mercer County Schools are warning parents about a deceptively dangerous game. Students at King Middle School have been caught participating in the “Choking Challenge.”

Esther Hayslett, director of pupil personnel and safe schools for Mercer County Schools, said students at other schools have also been caught playing the “game,” which can have very serious consequences.

Videos of the choking game have been posted on YouTube for over a decade, Hayslett said. In the latest version, children kneel down while holding their mouth and nose shut, then jump up quickly, causing a loss of consciousness, she said.

While no students have been hurt so far, Hayslett said the choking challenge has a potential for serious injury, even death.

Earlier this year, Mason Bogard of Evansville, Indiana, died several days after being found unresponsive at his home. According to Newsweek, Bogard’s mother blames his death on the choking challenge.

“Unfortunately, it has taken the lives of many young people too early,” Joan Jackson Bogard said in a Facebook post, according to Newsweek.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 82 children between the age of 6 and 19 have died since 1995 as a result of participating in variations of the choking challenge.

However, it is believed deaths caused by the choking challenge are under reported.

Hayslett said the school system is sharing the information so parents can discuss it with their children.

For more information, call Mercer County Schools at 859-733-7000.

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