13-year-old hospitalized after playing 'choking game'

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A Twin Cities 13-year-old girl was hospitalized and is recovering after playing what is sometimes called "the choking game," in which kids deprive their brains of oxygen in order to experience a few moments of light-headed euphoria, KARE 11 reports.

Devolia Wilson's 13-year old daughter played the game with friends on Wednesday, and on Thursday she had a massive, seizure-like episode, KARE reports. The girl spent two days in intensive care and is still recovering at Children's Hospital in St. Paul.

Officials at the girl's school, Edgewood Middle School, sent a letter home to parents urging them to talk to their children about the dangers of the game. Devolia Wilson joined that call.

"Explain to them that it's not a game," she told KARE. "You could get seriously hurt. This has been very traumatic."

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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