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Teens play deadly choking game

PUBLISHED: 09:00 20 May 2011

(click on image for larger view) Ann Phillips, Quantock Road, Weston, warning of the dangers  of the choking game,

(click on image for larger view) Ann Phillips, Quantock Road, Weston, warning of the dangers of the choking game,

Archant

STUDENTS from North Somerset have been dicing with death by playing a potentially fatal game which has claimed the lives of hundreds of youngsters worldwide.

The Mercury understands that five pupils from Churchill Community School played the ‘choking game’ – where people starve their brains of oxygen by holding their breath or tie a ligature around their necks to get a brief euphoric ‘high’.

A spokesman for the school would not reveal if any of the students had been injured but acknowledged the incident had been ‘dealt with’.

Weston resident Anne Phillips, whose son Mike died in 1993 after playing the game, was told about the incident by a concerned parent.

The retired social worker said: “The report I got was this happened on school grounds and the game was videoed on a camera and shown to other children on a school bus.

“I spoke to the school officials and offered to come in. My aim is to educate and inform parents, teachers and anyone else in the community who has anything to do with children about the dangers of this game.

“But they said they had dealt with it and said they didn’t want to take any more steps.”

Anne’s son Mike was 18 when he died after playing the game in his home town in Southern Ontario, Canada.

The 65-year-old, who has four other children, moved to England shortly after her son’s death in a bid to highlight the killer game in the UK.

She said: “Mike played the game on Halloween. He was stood on a very small patch of grass in a church ground and passed out and hit his head on the road.”

He was so severely brain damaged that Anne had to make the heart-breaking decision to turn off his life support after three days.

She is now in contact with four mums in the UK whose children died after playing the choking game in the last 18 months, and is also involved in the Ahead Of The Grief UK campaign.

MP Tim Loughton, the Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, is looking at ways to improve advice and information on the choking game – but Anne believes it is still shrouded in secrecy.

The Swiss Road resident added: “People are afraid if I talk about the game it might give kids ideas, but the people I want to talk to are parents who then can choose to speak to their own children.

“If you ask any mother who has lost a child to this deadly game, they say they would have liked to know about it so they would have had a chance to talk to their children before they played it.”

A spokesman for Churchill Community School said staff have ‘every sympathy’ with Anne about her own loss but said they did not wish to comment further on her approach to the Mercury.

She added: “We believe we have dealt with the matter appropriately and in a measured way.”

Anne is appealing for anyone who would like more information about the dangers of the game to email her at ivyhousefarm@gmail.com or visit her website www.mysonmike.com

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