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LAKE DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – All it takes is a cursory YouTube search to find dozens of videos depicting kids passing out after cutting off circulation to their brains.
Some use their bare hands. Some strangle themselves with a belt or rope. Others push on their chest or hyperventilate.
It’s really no game at all. It’s suffocating on purpose.
“I had no clue,” Misty Rawlins said.
Rawlins lost her son, Zach, to ‘The Choking Game’ a year ago this week.
“I could’ve made my kids watch these videos with me and educated them. And maybe my son would still be here today,” she said.
Now she’s hoping to save other kids from a similar fate. Zach was an 8th grader at Lake Dallas Middle School last year.
He was 14-years-old, the average age kids begin to play the game, although some are younger.
David King was Zach’s best friend. They did everything together, including play The Choking Game.
Asked why kids were interested in it, David said, “I don’t know. A head rush.”
David remembers passing out and then making Zach promise never to play the game alone.
“It just scared me. Cause I was out for like 10 minutes,” he said.
Zach died alone in his room with a shoelace wrapped around his neck.
“I’ve lost someone that is very close to me. It hurt. A lot,” he said.
Experts tells parents to look for:
Suspicious marks around the neck.
Any strap, rope or belt lying around for no reason or tied to a door or bedpost.
A thud in the bedroom or against a wall, meaning someone has fallen.
The Rawlins family plans to launch 300 Chinese lanterns this Sunday, marking the one year anniversary of Zach’s death. They remember his life every day.
“There’s so many days I wait for him to get off the bus. You know just waiting on him, wanting him to be with us,” she said.
Zach’s Lakeside Ceremony takes place at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 18 at Willow Grove Park in Lake Dallas on 800 East Hundley Drive.
The public is welcome to attend.