Garrett Pope, of Indian Land, SC, was the typical, happy 11-year-old boy. He loved playing with his friends, riding his bicycle, going fishing and playing football and lacrosse, his parents say. He also was an impressionable boy, and that led him to make a mistake that cost him his life.
Garrett’s mom, Stacy Pope, said his son died while playing “The Choking Game,” in which youths cut off their airways in an attempt to get a sense of euphoria. Pope said she doesn’t know where Garrett would have learned about the game, and said she doesn’t want any other parents to experience what her family suffered.
“Whatever we can do to prevent this from happening to anybody else, that’s the goal,” she told reporters, explaining why she felt it important to speak publicly about the incident.
“We don’t know how we’re going to go about doing that because the wound is very fresh, very painful,” the boy’s father, Garrett Pope Sr. said in a public Facebook Post. “But that’s what we’ll be doing moving forward.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the “choking game” was defined as self-strangulation or strangulation by another person with the hands or a noose to achieve a brief euphoric state caused by cerebral hypoxia. A 2008 study revealed that the game may also be known as “the blackout game,” “pass-out game,” “scarf game,” or other names.
Participants are typically youths, they found, and the actions can cause serious neurologic injury or death.
Stacy Pope said her son was “the best.” She said she heard about “The Choking Game” after a summer football coach mentioned it. She said Garrett said he didn’t know anything about it when she brought it up.
“If you talk to your kids and they said they don’t know about it, don’t stop there. You educate them on what it is, it’s not a game and it can kill you.”
Pope said the Facebook post was meant to give other parents “words of caution.”
“He took this terrible game too far,” Pope wrote in the post. “My family has never felt pain like this before, and we don’t want anyone else to go through what we are going through.”
“Please talk about this with your kids, and do everything you can to prevent a similar tragedy,” Pope added in the post.
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H/T: The Olympian.