TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's a way to get high without alcohol or drugs, but medical experts say a game teenagers are playing is dangerous and potentially deadly. Tyler ISD is alerting parents of The Choking Game. The district says a rising number of students are participating in this serious activity.
It's been around for decades, but this dangerous game is re-surfacing and gaining popularity among teens.
"It's usually during lunch. Like, our cafeteria, it opens to the outside, and there's a brick wall, and people will go up against it and do the choking game. They will just fall against the wall," Breanna Molloy, 17, said.
"This is what our children think. It is not drugs. It is not alcohol. But hey, I get a high from it," Nancy Jones, the coordinator of health services for TISD, said.
Tyler ISD says that in the past four weeks, at least ten of their students admitted to playing The Choking Game. In a press conference Thursday, district administrators expressed their concern.
"The district is highly concerned for the safety of all of our students," TISD Director of Student Services Jeff Collum said.
The district said the students involved did not seek medical attention, but the so-called game puts teens at extreme risk.
"They can have permanent memory loss. They can have some vision that is lost, all kinds of problems and even death," Jones said.
The district presented a slide show that explained what happens when a person restricts their neck in The Choking Game. When pressure on the neck is released, blood floods the brain all at once. This causes brain cells to die by the thousands, and when brain cells die, they release a chemical that causes a warm, fuzzy feeling.
"Again, it is not a game," The Regional Director for the Department of State Health Services Dr. Paul McGaha said.
Tyler ISD said parents should look out for these warning signs: bloodshot or red eyes, marks on the neck, severe headaches, dizziness, unexplained bruises, increased hostility, unusual need for privacy, ropes or ties in their room, and unexplained presence of cords.