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4. The Choking Game: Fun For All Ages
If you've got kids—or are just a big David Carradine fan—you've probably read reports over the years about something called "the choking game." As National Public Radio reported just last month, the choking game revolves around kids strangling themselves or each other until they pass out or almost-pass out. The rush is supposed to be pretty awesome, if it doesn't kill you. But like most freakouts about juvenile behavior, nobody really has good data on the ubiquity of the activity. All we know for sure is that it's happening everywhere, all the time:
According to a study...published...in the journal Pediatrics, around 6 percent of more than 5,000 middle-schoolers surveyed in Portland, Ore., have tried the choking game. And about a quarter of them have tried it at least five times, the researchers reported.
...no one really knows how often the game is being played or how many kids may have died. Back in 2008, a national estimate put the death toll from the choking game at about 82 between 1995 and 2007. But the study relied on media reports that couldn't be verified independently. And many deaths that weren't reported in the news could have been missed.
The important thing is to remember, as the NPR headline puts it, "Deadly 'Choking Game' Comes With Big Risks" (the biggest risk, I'm guessing, is that it's deadly, right?).
The more prurient twist on the choking game stresses that "researchers said that students who had ever had sex and had used drugs in the last 30 days were at increased risk for participating in the choking game." Of course they were, if only because drug-taking, sexually active kids are more likely to sell newspapers and capture eyeballs.
Erotic asphyxiation's siren call is hardly confined to sweet youth. In 2009, 72-year-old actor David Carradine's "mysterious" death was attributed to a one-handed version of the choking game, as the star of Kill Bill and Kung Fu was found dead in a Thai hotel room closet with ropes around his neck and genitals. (What exactly was mysterious about such a death went unexplained in most news accounts.)
Next: It's Always The Time of the Month for Vodka-Soaked Tampons!...