A MOTHER has spoken in public about the so-called game which killed her son.
Gill Ayre’s son Harry died in April last year after playing “the choking game”, which is also known as “pass out”, “airplaning” and “wallbanger”.
Harry, a pupil at Shoreham Academy, in Kingston Lane, was just 16 years old.
On Thursday, Gill spoke to other parents at the school about the dangers of the game and how to spot the warning signs.
It was the first time an English school had allowed someone to talk about the deadly craze.
The choking game involves reducing the amount of oxygen to the brain to achieve a dreamlike sensation when the blood rushes back.
Gill took the step of speaking to other parents about what happened to Harry to try to raise awareness of the activity.
“Harry was 16, fit and healthy and an advanced scuba diver,” she said.
“He was doing well at school and was studying hard for his GCSEs.
“He dreamed of going to university and joining either the Army or the Navy and, yet, on April 8 last year, at about 5.30pm on a Thursday evening, I found Harry dead in his room.
“Harry had gone up to his room to study at about 3.30pm.
“I was out shopping but his dad was in. When Harry didn’t come downstairs when I called him for dinner, I went up.
“I found Harry sitting on his bed with his dressing gown cord knotted on his metal headboard and loosely around his neck. I shouted to his dad and he removed the ligature. I ran next door and shouted to my neighbour to call 999. We both tried to resuscitate him.”
At 7pm that evening, Gill and Scott were told their son was dead.
During the “absolute devastation” that followed, it emerged Harry had died as a result of using a ligature to achieve a “high”.
“The teenagers are aware it is risky but they don’t think it is deadly – a supposedly safer alternative to drugs or alcohol,” said Gill.
The choking game should not be confused with erotic asphyxiation which has a sexual motivation and is more prevalent in older men.
Gill is now in contact with other parents who have lost children in the same way.
They want videos of children performing the choking game removed from website YouTube and more education for parents about the dangers.
“The Department of Education knows of this deadly activity but has refused a petition from parents to educate on this in case it gives kids ideas,” said Gill.
“But we, the parents, want to inform other parents about this and let them decide how, and if, they tell their children.
“After all, we educate our children on drugs, alcohol abuse and safe sex but not on an activity that can kill in seconds.”
Anyone who would like more information about the choking game can visit www.chokinggame.net
Support is also available from Ahead of the Grief UK at www.aheadofthegrief.me.uk