EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) - South Eugene High School administrators are trying to put a stop to a deadly fad that could be circulating the teenage population.
It's known as the "choking game" or the "fainting game" and it's exactly what it sounds like. Teenagers are asphyxiating one another, intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain, to obtain what they describe as a 'euphoria' or a high without using drugs.
The "choking game" has been around for decades, but apparently, may be resurfacing.
South Eugene High School principal Randy Bernstein told NewsSource 16 Wednesday that twice in one day he received e-mails about the so-called game. He immediately sent an e-mail to parents notifying them to keep their eyes and ears open. Parents responded, saying they too have heard about but not witnessed the game in Eugene.
"Over the weekend, I had a parent who contacted me by e-mail saying her child had brought home this information that they had heard about it," Bernstein said. "Staff members have also overheard students talking about this."
Bernstein requested that students not be contacted by the media, but said if administrators know about it, it's likely the topic has been around the student body at least once. In fact, the school nurse Marlys Martin said she had at least one student come to her to discuss the risks of the choking game. The student told her he had never done it but that he wanted it to stop, too.
"You know, they just need to be aware that even subtle decreases in oxygen for a sustained period of time can create brain damage," Martin said.
Bernstein said staff members have been talking about it with students but have been careful not to sensationalize the fad. He said he was surprised to hear that students would even think of trying such a fad but added he is confident the South Eugene student body will realize quickly how dangerous the activity is and end it right away.
"Parents want their kids to come home with 'A' papers. They want their kids to come home," he said.
Nationwide, there have been reports of students dying as a result of the game. According to the official website of GASP - Games Adolescents Shouldn't Play
- more than 1,000 people under the age of 18 have died in the past decade playing this game either by themselves or with others. There are also numerous videos posted to YouTube.
Bernstein and Martin recommend that parents be proactive in putting an end to this activity by talking about it with kids regardless of age. If they remain concerned, parents can also call the child's school.
It's important for students to remember too, that this kind of activity could be considered a crime.