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Parents discuss deadly "choking game" after teen's death | News

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Parents discuss deadly "choking game" after teen's death

ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- Parents and teachers gathered Monday night to learn more about the deadly game that may have claimed the life of an Alpharetta teenager.

Sanders Marshall was a student at Webb Bridge Middle School. The 13-year-old was, by all accounts, a good student and athlete, well-liked and well-known. His parents say that's what makes his death so hard to understand.

On the evening of Feb. 16, Sanders went into his bedroom. His parents believe he tried to play the "choking game." His mother found him hours later, dead of asphyxiation.

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HELP: "Choking game" FAQ

In the "choking game," groups of children, or sometimes a child alone, will try to cut off the supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. It's supposed to produce a high, but it can result in brain damage and death. 

"I think people definitely need to know about it. Parents definitely need to talk to their kids about this," said Dr. Ashraf Attalla, a child psychiatrist. "Teens have this sort of feeling of invincibility; they're powerful, they think they can defy nature, but this is a very dangerous game to play."

Parents and teachers met in Alpharetta Monday for an eye-opening discussion about the "choking game." Many said they weren't aware of it until the forum.

"That's why I'm here," said parent Sheila Ford. "I don't want to be caught by surprise. I don't want to have that ever happen to me."

Sanders Marshall's parents did not attend the meeting, saying it's simply too soon. But, they say they support any and every effort to save another child and bring awareness to this dangerous game.


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