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ABC6: Choking Game Dangers

Doctors Warn Of What Cutting Off Oxygen Can Do

It is called the choking game, and it is a game that can have deadly consequences. 

For decades, young people around the country have tried to cut off oxygen to their brain in order to get some sort of "high" when that oxygen starts to come back.  The biggest problem is what happens when the brain doesn't respond.  The simple answer; a person can die.

"These are kids they probably don't fully realize what they're doing," OhioHealth Neuroimmunologist Aaron Boster told ABC6, Columbus.

Some of the young people are squeezing the carotid arteries which cuts off adequate blood supply to the brain. Dr. Boster says there are other ways these people are gambling with their lives.

"Another variation of this terrible theme is by getting someone to breathe really fast and to blow off their carbon dioxide and then either hold their breath or push on their chest so they can't take a deep breath and this will further facilitate losing oxygen to the brain," said Dr. Boster.

Dr. Boster says by starving the brain if only for a second, the outcome could be tragic.

"The brain is very unforgiving it needs oxygen all the time and if you deny oxygen even for a little bit you can have permanent damage," said Dr. Boster.

There are things you can look out for that might tip you off that some of this is happening with someone you love.

"I'm hopeful that parents will look out for bruising on the neck or busted blood vessel," said Dr. Boster.

Beyond that, experts suggest listening and watching for things like this in the circles your children and their friends might be traveling in.

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