Dangerous online trend leads to boy’s death
A BOY has died over the weekend after he and his friends were playing the "fainting game," which led to significant oxygen being cut off to his brain, his mother said.
Tua Muai, from Utah in the US, and his friends had been playing the game on Friday afternoon in the hopes of cutting off oxygen to the brain to obtain a high or rush. According to Fox News, his mother Celestia Muai found the 12-year-old unconscious shortly after and called 911.
"He was just playing a game and he didn't think things through," Mrs Muai told FOX13 Salt Lake City.
Tua died at the hospital. Mrs Muai said it was a sombre Mother's Day.
"I spent Mother's Day planning my son's funeral, writing his obituary, instead of having breakfast or flowers or 'I love you, Mom,'" Mrs Muai said. "Try to imagine what it would be like and multiply that by infinity and that's kind of what it's like … there's no words."
Tua, who was in sixth grade, was described as a child who loved football and had a "zeal for adventure." His father had passed away a year and a half ago. He had six siblings.
Also known as the "choking game" among other more innocuous names such as "space monkey", "cloud nine" and "five minutes in heaven", the dangerous stunt was generally spread through word of mouth and involved groups of two or three people participating. There are different methods used, but they all result in blood flow to the brain being disrupted and the participant losing consciousness.
In the last few years, videos have been posted on the internet to show how children can choke themselves enough to get the "rush of euphoria" as they regain consciousness.
A 2015 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that the internet had "normalised" the dangerous practice.
Mrs Muai said she wants to warn other parents about the dangers of the "fainting game".
"There's nothing that can take the pain away, but if it can save one child, one parent, one family … then it will make more sense," Mrs Muai said.