Family issues warning to other parents after 11-year-old dies playing ‘choking game’

Photo courtesy of Garrett Pope, Sr. via WBTV

Photo courtesy of Garrett Pope, Sr. via WBTV

INDIAN LAND, SC – A South Carolina family is hoping to raise awareness and warn other parents after an 11-year-old boy accidentally killed himself playing the “choking game.”

Garrett Pope, Jr. was a normal, happy sixth grader. He just made his middle school’s football team, and he wanted to go to Clemson. His parents say he was funny and smart, and he was a great older brother and son.

But now the Pope family is planning Garrett’s funeral after he died of accidental asphyxiation playing the deadly “choking game.” The purpose of the “game” is to choke oneself and cut off the airways in an attempt to get a sense of euphoria. The game has been around for a while, but it’s starting to make resurgence among youth.

Garrett’s parents say they have no idea where he learned about the game, and they say none of the family’s electronic devices show any research about the game.

Garrett’s father, Garrett Pope, Sr., wrote a public Facebook post about his son, urging parents to talk with their kids and look for any signs that they may be playing the game such as bloodshot eyes and marks on the neck.

“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,” wrote Garrett Sr.

The photos of Garrett Pope, Jr. were given to WBTV by Garrett Pope, Sr.