What Is The Fainting Game? Grieving Mother Warns About Deadly Challenge After Son Dies

A grieving mother in Utah is warning others about a new viral game spreading among children after her son died while playing with his friends over the weekend.

Tua Maui, 12 from South Jordan, Utah, was found unconscious in his home Friday after playing the “fainting game” with his friends. The dangerous game, which is also called the "choking challenge" or "pass out game," involves asphyxiation by either self-strangulation or hyperventilation, Dr. Jennifer Singleton, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconnes Medical Center in Boston, explained to Newsweek.

RTS12P40 An emergency sign directs patients and staff to the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center hospital in San Diego, California , U.S., April 17, 2017. In Utah, Tua Maui was taken to the hospital after he passed out while playing the fainting game with his friends. He died at the hospital. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Tua passed out and never woke up. He later died at the hospital, his mother said. His death was not the first from the frightening challenge.

The boy’s distressed mother is pleading with children and their parents to take the viral challenge seriously. 

"I’m hoping to get the message out to parents and children to not do these games that you see on YouTube and these challenges. They don’t show the consequences,” Celestia Maui said, according to KUTV.

Singleton told Newsweek that the primary concern in evaluating people who have participated in the game are "neurologic injuries from a decrease in oxygen to the brain" and "mechanical injuries resulting from loss of consciousness." She warned that neurologic injuries could be permanent. 

Parents who suspect their children have participated in the game are urged to seek medical attention. 

"If you suspect your child has been playing this game, we recommend evaluation by a medical provider," Singleton said. "Any of the following symptoms should prompt emergency evaluation: persistent confusion or loss of consciousness, difficulty or 'noisy' breathing, vision changes, neck swelling, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs." 

Maui, who lost her husband less than two years ago and was raising her eight children alone, told KSTU that she spent a somber Mother’s Day planning her son’s funeral and eulogy.

“I spent Mother’s Day planning my son’s funeral, writing his obituary, instead of having breakfast or flowers or I love you mom,” she said. “Try to imagine what it would be like and multiply that by infinity and that’s kind of what it’s like…there’s no words.”

Tua’s funeral was held Wednesday.

According to CNN, there are a number of viral challenges, like the fainting game, that could lead to children harming themselves. Some food challenges, such as the hot-pepper challenge and cinnamon challenge, don’t typically result in serious harm, but there have been reports of people getting hurt or even winding up in the hospital.