The Choking Game: How young are the players?

Reporter: Stefanie Silvey
Web Producer: Mike Mardis

Update: Teachers at Cravens Elementary School in Owensboro watched 'The Choking Game' story with interest Wednesday night, because just a few weeks ago it was discovered that three of their students were playing the game.

This is particularly disturbing, because Cravens Elementary School is only kindergarten through fourth grade.

What teachers didn't know at the time, was that the game can be deadly.

"We need to step up and realize, if you fail to talk then you fail," Chris Gaddis, the school's principal, said.

Gaddis said that the worst mistake both educators and parents can make is to ignore a problem and just hope it goes away.

"Somebody is going to teach your child and it better be you," Gaddis said, "because if it's not you, they will find someone else to do that."

That's exactly what happened in Owensboro. In just the past few weeks, a student at the elementary school has told a teacher about a game they had recently played.

"Actually the child reported it as fun," Karen Allinder a school social worker said, "said 'this is fun', and the teacher was alarmed."

Allinder, upon learning of the incident, looked into the situation further and discovered at least three children at their school had played the choking game.

"Children have to know that this is not a game that is fun," Allinder said, "that it can have deadly consequences."

The choking game has been around for generations. Children cut off oxygen flow to themselves or others for a quick euphoric high.

What many don't realize is how easily this so-called game can result in severe brain damage or death. The CDC recently reported 82 confirmed deaths of children from the game, and suspect a lot more.

"There's no question after your story last night," Gaddis said, "It just reiterated that we are not isolated from problems here, we can have all the fire drills here and the lock downs that we want to, but we have to be on our toes all the time."

So Cravens plans to add the choking game to it's D.A.R.E. program in the hopes of preventing a student there from becoming a sad statistic. But Principal Chris Gaddis said that prevention won't work unless parents do their part at home as well.

"A parent needs to step up and be a parent and not a best friend," Gaddis said, "because often times best friends will get us in trouble."

Allinder said that when parents talk to their kids it's not necessary to terrify them, but you don't need to sugar coat it either. She said that they need to know that they can die from this activity.

Wednesday night 14 News offered to provide its story on the choking game free of charge to any Tri-State school. Several have taken advantage of the offer and plan to use it as an educational tool, either with the teachers, students or both.

Officials said that the kids probably initially learned the game from older kids at home.