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Teen hospitalized after 'choking game' returns home, speaks out

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A Mounds View teenager that was hospitalized after playing a so-called "choking game," in which kids deprive their brains of oxygen in order to experience a few moments of light-headed euphoria, is out of the hospital.

KARE 11 reports 13-year-old Rajahnae Smith experienced a massive seizure-like episode a day after playing the game with friends last Wednesday.

"I was in my room listening to music and I started falling over and shaking," Rajahnae tells KARE 11.

The teen spent two days of her three-day hospital stay in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul and was released Sunday.

Rajahnae wants to warn other teens about the dangers of the game.

"It can cause a lot of serious injuries. You could die from it." Rajahnae said. "I'm surprised that I made it."

The practice goes by a number of names, including “passout,” “space monkey” and “American dream,” according to the group GASP, which aims to raise parent awareness.

GASP notes that as many as 250 to 1,000 young people die in the United States each year playing some version of the choking game, although it’s difficult to track statistics in part because many of the cases are reported as suicides.

According to one study that appeared in the journal Pediatrics, about 6 percent of eighth-graders had played the “game.”

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