2.17.2008

CDC releases first report about deaths from the "choking game"

Press report from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta here.

Here are the stats on the "choking game" from their February 15, 2008 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

This is the first time that the CDC has collected data on the choking game and I am really glad that they have. (In their own words, "This report describes the first attempt to assess the national incidence of deaths among youths resulting from the choking game.") I wish they had done so earlier, but I understand that data really wasn't available much earlier, and is only beginning to become available now.

It's such a small number--82 deaths from 1995-2007--that were ruled to be choking game deaths. Even a more generous estimate, based on the probable number of deaths that were mistakely labeled suicides, is far fewer than the number of deaths for children this age from, for example, car accidents. I don't know what kills 100 six to nineteen-year-olds a year in the United States, but surely the list is quite long. This just seems to preventable, though, so horribly preventable. It also seems like it's constantly surprising--it's the kids who don't try drugs or drinking who seem most likely to try this "game." It's kids on the cusp of greatness; kids who excel academically or at sports; kids who have friends and go to camp in the summer. And it's kids. Ten, eleven, twelve, and thirteen-year-olds. I think the average age of death in this study was thirteen. It's like like the other crap that takes people's lives far too early (car accidents, cancer, heart attacks), but takes them somewhat indescriminately. This takes the lives of kids who don't even realize that they are risking their lives. They think they're playing a game...

Oh, but the reason that I am particularly interested in this topic and thus this report is here.

Warning signs are probably in the CDC material, but are also in this Time story. Parents, teacher, and anyone else who works with kids, please educate yourselves about this practice.

Reporting from Atlanta (where I am currently on vacation, not working for the CDC, although wouldn't that be a cool place to work?),
ALG

3 comments:

Carrie A. said...

hi,
trying to follow with interest your choking game update.the links in your blog post error out.please check them.

Carrie A. said...

actually just the 1st two.
"here" and "stats"

ALG said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carrie. I just checked both of those links and they're working for me at the moment. Maybe the CDC website was having problems earlier?