Choking Game Concerns Persist in QCA - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Choking Game Concerns Persist in QCA

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A terrifying trend among teenagers is back in the national spotlight as the Fort Carson, Colorado, community mourns the death of a 13-year-old boy found dead in the bathroom of his middle school - killed while playing the so-called "choking game", according to his mother.

It's one of the latest casualties in a game that has also been reportedly "played" in the QCA, too. Police take it very seriously.

Teenagers may call it a "game", but it is incredibly dangerous, and it can have lasting consequences in the lives of everyone involved.

Case in point: Last year's arrest and conviction of Michael Ford of Rock Island.

In October, 2013, the then 19-year-old was sentenced to three years in prison for aggravated battery stemming from a choking game incident involving a 15-year-old boy in Geneseo.

"We have video footage of some of the incidents that was taken by cell phone," said Geneseo Police Detective Sean Johnson, the investigator who handled that case.

He says he was shocked when he saw what the boys were doing in that video.

"He's performing a maneuver where he's taking oxygen away from somebody to the point of them going unconscious," Johnson recalled. "I was really surprised that that type of stuff was going on."

But a quick search of YouTube proves it is not uncommon.

Looking for a thrill or a drug-free high, young people will choke each other to the point of passing out, sometimes to the point of death, as was allegedly the case with 13-year-old Luie Fields in Fort Carson, Colorado.

"I'm not surprised that it's still going on, because as teenagers, everybody wants to fit in. They want to fit in, they want to look cool, they want to bring five minutes of fame to themselves, and I think that's why these incidences are still going on," Detective Johnson said.

Detective Johnson says, fortunately, the Geneseo Police Department has had no reports of incidents involving the choking game since the one that led to Michael Ford's arrest and conviction last year.

"I'd like to think that the awareness that has come from this first incident that we investigated and prosecuted, maybe that teenagers are taking it more serious. That's my hope," Johnson said.

Even so, Detective Johnson says we likely haven't heard the last of the choking game in our area. Young people around here may still be taking part.

"I suspect that it's probably gone out there, if not in our community, somewhere very close by it, even since that previous prosecution," he said. "Again, my hope is that if we can just diminish and prevent just one tragedy or one death, then we did our job."

Geneseo Police officials say if they do hear of another case involving the choking game within their jurisdiction, you can be sure they'll investigate fully and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

They encourage victims to come forward.

The Centers for Disease Control says there are a number of warning signs that a child has been playing the choking game that parents should look out for, including bloodshot eyes, marks on the neck, and frequent headaches.

You can find more information on the CDC's website.

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