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Indiana Teen Dies After Playing Choking Game He Saw On Social Media, Family Says

Mason Bogard tried the challenge and it went “horribly wrong,” his mother wrote.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Teen on computer

An Indiana teen who was critically injured after playing a choking game he learned about on social media has succumbed to his injuries and his organs have been donated, his family announced this week.

Joann Jackson Bogard said in a Facebook post Sunday that her son Mason Bogard tried the challenge on Wednesday evening and it went “horribly wrong.”

“The challenge that Mason tried was the choking challenge,” she wrote. “The challenge is based on the idea that you choke yourself to the point of almost passing out and then stop. It’s supposed to create a type of high. Unfortunately, it has taken the lives of many young people too early and it will take our precious Mason.”

The Center for Disease Control defined the “choking game” as a method of “self-strangulation or strangulation by another person with the hands or a noose to achieve a brief euphoric state caused by cerebral hypoxia” in a 2008 report. The risks of playing the game include serious brain injuries and death if participants are strangled for an extended period of time, the report states.

Eighty-two children between the ages of 6 and 19 are suspected of having died playing the game between 1995 and 2007; 71 percent of the deceased were male, with an average age of 13.

Investigators do not yet know for sure that Mason died from playing the choking game, the Evansville Courier & Press reports. The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office, alongside the Vanderburgh County Coroner's Office, has launched an investigation into the teen’s death, according to the outlet.

“We don’t know what he was doing prior to them finding him in an unconscious state,” Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said.

Paramedics were reportedly called to the Bogard home at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday to aid an “unresponsive juvenile," but Wedding said that deputies did not spot any immediate evidence that a game was involved in the child's death.

The family said on Monday that Mason’s organs would be donated that day to six people in need.

“While we are devastated that we will never experience so many things with Mason again, we are able to find some comfort in the fact that Mason will save the lives of others. He would have wanted it this way. He was an extremely generous young man,” Bogard wrote in a previous post announcing the decision.

She ended her post by urging parents to be aware of their children’s social media activity.

“Finally, we want to plead with you from the bottom of our hearts … please pay attention to what your children look at on social media,” she wrote. “I know our kids always complain that we’re being too overprotective but it’s ok, it’s our job.

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