URGENT MESSAGE - PARENT NOTICE from SFISD Superintendent Jim McClellan
Many students are becoming aware of a new game becoming popular among teenagers called the
choking game (also known as the fainting game and a wide variety of local slang names). There are
two main mechanisms behind many variations of this practice, both resulting in cerebral hypoxia
(oxygen deprivation to the brain). The two mechanisms tend to be confused with each other or treated
as one but are quite dissimilar although both have the potential to cause permanent brain damage or
death. The two mechanisms are strangulation and self-induced hypocapnia (reduction of carbon
dioxide in the blood).
In this game, students attempt to choke themselves or their friends until they pass out. Students need
to be aware that this is a very dangerous game that can have deadly consequences as well as life-long
negative effects such as brain damage, organ damage, head trauma, or lead to other health
problems. Keeping your brain and other organs from receiving oxygen is very unhealthy for you.
Students should not take the risk of being one of the misfortunate fatalities.
Limited research has been conducted regarding motivations for practicing the fainting game, although
thrill-seeking has been identified as a risk factor, as has the perception that it is a low-risk activity.
Anecdotal reasons stated include:
- Peer pressure, a challenge or dare, a rite of passage into a social group or amusement over erratic behavior.
- Curiosity in experiencing an altered state of consciousness or an imagined approximation to a near-death experience.
- A belief that it can induce a brief sense of euphoria (a rushing sensation or high).
- The prospect of intoxication at no financial cost.
Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners in London, claims that the fainting
game is pursued primarily by children and teens “to get a high without taking drugs.”
The SFISD encourages you to educate yourself on the dangers of this game and do not allow your
children to take part in it. Because of the danger of this game, we cannot allow it at school or anywhere
on school grounds. You will be notified and your child may receive disciplinary action if he or she is an
active participant in the game. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your child’s