According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, from 1995 to 2007, at least 82 kids have died playing the Choking Game. 87% of them were boys aged 11 to 16. The average age was 13.
The point of the game is to go just far enough to get the “high” that follows after briefly squeezing off the supply of oxygen and blood to the brain. The game has a long history and also goes by the names, “Pass-Out Challenge”, “Flatliner” and “Space Monkey.”
One boy who went too far was Erik Robinson of Santa Monica, California. One day in April of 2010, he put a rope around his neck and hung himself from a pull up bar. He was only 12 years-old.
His devastated mother, Judy Rogg, found her son collapsed in the kitchen doorway. “I missed him by a few minutes,” she said. Rogg tried to undo the complicated slipknots her son had tied, but couldn’t. By the time she got help, it was too late.
In the wake of the tragedy, Rogg founded the non-profit “Erik’s Cause” to help educate other kids about the dangers of the game. She and her co-founder Stephanie Small spent years designing an 8 minute video and PowerPoint presentation now shown to kids in the Iron County School District in Utah. Iron County adopted the training program after 4 kids died in its district playing the Choking Game.
Rogg keeps the memory of her son close—some of his ashes are locked inside of a necklace she wears. She works tirelessly for “Erik’s Cause” and has travelled to speak in Pennsylvania, California and Maryland. Rogg even flew all the way to New Jersey to help a family get through their own tragic loss from the Choking Game.
“This is the best way for me to preserve his legacy…I have to keep busy.”