Mother Warns Against 'Stupid' Choking Challenge That She Blames for Death of Teenage Son

A mother has warned against the dangers of a "choking game" she says was responsible for the death of her teenage son.

Mason Bogard, of Evansville, Indiana, died several days after he was taken to hospital after being found unresponsive at his home by emergency responders on May 1.

Just prior to his death, the boy's mother, Joan Jackson Bogard, wrote on Facebook that her son had "attempted a challenge that he saw on social media and it went horribly wrong."

"Unfortunately, it has taken the lives of many young people too early and it will take our precious Mason," Joan Jackson Bogard added.

The teenager is believed to have attempted the so-called "choking challenge," in which a person either strangles themselves or gets another person to strangle them in order to experience a brief euphoric feeling by depriving their brain of oxygen, also known as cerebral hypoxia.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the game was linked to the deaths of 82 people between the ages of 6 and 19 from 1995 to 2007. A majority of the victims were male, with the mean age being just over 13.

The report adds that among the 42 deaths in which sufficient detail was available, more than 92 percent of parents said they were not aware of the choking game until the death of their child.

"Over the last several days the amazing staff at the Deaconess Hospital has done everything they can to bring Mason back to us. Unfortunately, we will not have the opportunity to experience so many things with our child because of a stupid challenge on social media," Joan Jackson Bogard wrote.

Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear confirmed Mason Bogard's death, but will not rule on an exact cause of death until a full autopsy has been performed reports WFIE.

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office has not fully concluded if the boy died after playing the alleged game.

"We don't know what he was doing prior to them finding him in an unconscious state," Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding told the Evansville Courier and Press. "We will certainly follow up on it and try to gather as much information as we can."

In a follow-up statement posted to Facebook, Mason Bogard's family said his organs will be donated to six people in the wake of his death.

"This young man continues to make us very proud," the family added.

The choking challenge was also linked to the death of 13-year-old Gabby Perez of Vancouver, Washington, in February.

"I think it was a tragic accident—that she thought she was playing a game that was fun, and at that age they don't think of the outcome, they think of the here and now," Chelsea Rin, whose son attended Cascade Middle School with Perez, told KATU.

mason bogard
Mason Bogard's family said he died after playing the so-called "choking game" after seeing it on social media. Facebook/Joan Jackson Bogard