INDIAN LAND, S.C. (CBS) — A family in South Carolina is trying to raise awareness about the dangers of a game they say took their 11-year-old son’s life last week.
Garrett Porter Sr., shared a message about his son, Garrett Jr.’s death with members of the “Concerned Citizens of Indian Land” Facebook group. In it he described his son as a 6th grade student at the local middle school, who had just started to play football and had dreams of going to Clemson one day. He was funny, smart and “an amazing son.”
The father of three also shared a Wikipedia link explaining “The Choking Game,” the reason him and Garrett’s mom, Stacy, say their son is dead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define it as intentionally trying to choke oneself or another in an effort to obtain a brief euphoric state or “high.” A study conducted by the CDC in 2008 revealed that 87 percent of deaths associated with “the choking game” were among males, specifically those between 11 and 16 years old.
Other names for the game include “the fainting game,” “pass-out game,” “space monkey,” as well as other slang names.
Garrett Jr., who was born in Galloway, New Jersey will be laid to rest on Tuesday. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his two siblings and grandparents, Donald Pope and Susan Shaw of Holmdel, N.J., as well as Charles and Karen Dever of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Garrett’s family and local community are hoping his death will make more parents aware of this dangerous game. The CDC says awareness and education are key in preventing these types of deaths.
Garrett Sr.’s full message is included below:
My name is Garrett Pope, and I’m the father of the 11 year old boy, Garrett Jr., who passed away tragically this past Wednesday. He was our oldest son, a 6th grade student at the middle school, had just started to play football on Tuesday night, wanted to go to Clemson, was funny, smart, and an amazing son to us and brother to his siblings. I know that there are a lot of rumors out there at to what happened, and my family would like to share some words of caution. The Lancaster County Coroners office has determined that this was an accidental death caused by him playing something called “The Choking Game”. It is where kids cut off their airwaves just enough to get a sense of euphoria. I’m including a link here for more information.
We do not know where Garrett learned this, but the logical source would be from other kids in school, or in our neighborhood. Our tablets and computers show no online research that he might have done. I’ve spoken to the principle about making sure that teachers are aware of this “game”. I work in the media industry, and local news outlets will be following up with more widespread coverage. Please know that his senseless death was not intentional. He took this terrible “game” too far. My family has never felt pain like this before, and we don’t 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. He was so young and impressionable, he didn’t know what he was doing, and made a terrible mistake.
We miss him.