Local News

Teen-produced PSA warns about 'choking game'

Posted March 17, 2009
Updated March 18, 2009

— A Raleigh high school student is trying to warn teenagers about the dangers of the "choking game" that killed her childhood friend.

'Choking Game' PSA aims to educate 'Choking Game' PSA aims to educate

Kris Marceno, a sophomore at Enloe High School, died Nov. 2 playing the "choking game" in which someone asphyxiates himself or herself or chokes a friend to the point of passing out. The oxygen deprivation is believed to produce a euphoric high.

Raleigh Charter High School sophomore Sarah Huck wrote, directed and is producing a public service announcement to highlight the dangers of the "choking game."

Marceno, 15, had tied an electrical cord around his neck and attached the end to a bunk bed.

"In three minutes of playing this game, you can have sufficient brain damage – and in four minutes you can die," Huck said.

"He was funny, outgoing, the life of the party, a great son," Bobbi Jo Marceno said of her son.

His mother said she never suspected her son of trying to play such a dangerous game, but said his friends have since told her they even try to choke each other at school.

"Kids at school had seen him do it, playing around at school," she said.

Huck's "What Can You Do in 3 Minutes?" aims to serve as a lesson to other teens while raising awareness about the "choking game" among parents.

"Hopefully, it will save some kids. And the parents will watch it and maybe there are some signs that their kids are doing it," Huck said.

Huck's production team donated their time and talents to the effort. The PSA was cast with teenage actors, many of whom were friends of Kris.

Huck hopes local TV stations will air the PSA, and she also plans to post it on YouTube.com and Facebook.com upon completion in mid-May.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 82 youths nationwide have died since 1995 while playing the "choking game." Most of the victims were teenage boys.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • NC Reader Mar 18, 2009

    Granted that the "choking game" doesn't necessarily involve autoerotic asphixiation. However, it's important to talk to your children about both. It is incomprehensible to most people that anyone would want to do this. However, many young people don't have a good grasp on the risks involved in dangerous but appealing behaviors. I wish the student the best in getting this message out. It seems futile in some ways. Remember how high school students continued to drink and drive even after having their friends killed in several well-publicized crashes? If she reaches just one person, though, it will have been worth it.

  • Esq Mar 18, 2009

    these kids need to go green

  • Soulbait Mar 18, 2009

    "I don't know what is dumber...the "choking game" or WRAL for posting this garbage."

    Why is this garbage? What this girl has done is admirable. Using your logic no news should ever be posted, because everyone will want to imitate it. Seriously? Is the only news you want is traffic or the weather? No wait, if the traffic is reported congested at 440 between the Captial Blvd and Western Blvd exits, everyone will want to join the fun. I guess only Greg Fishell's job is secured!

  • Soulbait Mar 18, 2009

    Its like paint huffing & glue sniffing - no it is way different. Paint huffing causes more brain damage quickly. They are both stupid things to do, but, in my opinion, are not comparable.

  • Soulbait Mar 18, 2009

    WOW, using a cord to chock yourself? That is terrible.

    When I have done this, as a younger lad, we used our hands to choke each other out. By taking several deep breaths quickly, and while holding the last breathe, someone would tighten the sides of the neck, reducing oxygen and blood flow, which would cause the person to pass out for a couple of seconds. I go so good at doing it that I could so it to myself, and usually cause someone to pass out in less than 3 seconds (I know scary). In fact one night in Bible college, in all places, I think I made the entire dorm pass out. I even did it to some kids without telling them what was going to happen! It was funny and a bunch of good laughs, but STUPID STUPID STUPID. I am lucky no one had any medical problems that could have resulted in death; would have had a manslaughter charge against me for sure!

    Passing out like that was fun and dumb, but using a cord or something that may not let go is just scary!

  • hpr641 Mar 18, 2009

    Kids just very simply don't know that it actually IS dangerous.

    Well over 20yrs ago, I remember kids in my JUNIOR HS doing this - their was was to have a friend press down on their jugular veins until they blacked out. Then, the friend would release the pressure, blood was restored to the brain, and the kid woke back up. They said it was really cool. They didn't realize A) They were depriving their brain of oxygen - very dangerous by itself, AND B) The inrush of blood when pressure was released can easily cause a stroke.

  • clemsonalltheway Mar 18, 2009

    This "game" has been around forever. When I was in Jr High (over 25 years ago) there were two guys playing this exact game in the hallway, between changing classes, 1 of them didn't quite pass out, but the other did; The school called EMS and he was taken to the ER - we all thought he was dead. Pretty scarey for an 8th grader.

  • ShareTheRoad Mar 18, 2009

    "Why would it be insulting if it were sexual in nature? Is there something wrong with sex? "

    The boy died alone. Hung from his bed. Its bad enough. To insinuate he died alone, hung from his bed while m asturbating, is insulting. Insisting this death was caused by auto erotic asphyxiation, therefore, is insulting.

  • baracus Mar 18, 2009

    "Whatever happened to playing little league baseball? or riding bikes? or cutting paths through the woods? I'm glad I don't have kids these days!"

    Pedophiles are lurking around every corner and our kids can only be truly safe if we keep them inside plugged into the television.

  • UNC81 Mar 18, 2009

    I've never heard it called the "choking game". It's not really choking if it's what I'm thinking of. This is the thing where you cross your arms on your chest and someone pushes on them while you hold your breath, right?