The DB Foundation: Official Choking Game Awareness Website

The DB Foundation ( DBF) is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization comprised of parents, teachers, medical professionals, law enforcement officers etc. from many communities across the United States striving to reduce death and injury caused by a teen risk behavior commonly known as "The Choking Game".

This was the Official Choking Game Awareness website.
Content is from the site's archived pages, and is as relevant today as when the site was first created.


Todays youth are taking risks. They are car surfing, abusing over the counter and prescription medication, inhaling and ingesting common household products. All in an attempt to achieve an altered consciousness, to complete a dare or just out of teen curiosity. Oxygen deprivation practices like the choking game need to be addressed in the same manner as other current teen risky behaviors.


Our Mission

Our mission is to establish and implement awareness and educational programs regarding dangerous adolescent behaviors to parents, schools, law enforcement, Health Care Professionals and children for the purpose of injury prevention and risk reduction. This will be achieved through changing legislation, providing seminars, school assemblies, community presentations, a website presence, an availability to the media and a quarterly newsletter and providing, free of charge, educational materials such as brochures to those seeking this information.

History of The DB Foundation

The DB Foundation (originally The Dylan Blake Foundation) was founded by Kate Leonardi in January of 2006 focusing on education and awareness of risky teen behaviors. Kate was stunned to learn of one risky behavior she wasn't aware of, the Choking Game, after her 11 year old son, Dylan, passed away in October 2005. In the years since, DBF has become a nationally recognized organization with dozens of involved volunteers and a very active Board of Directors. We have been quoted in The New York Times (pg 1 Feb 2007) and The US Centers for Disease Control (MMWR Feb 2008), and cited as a statistical source for Choking Game data on NBC's TODAY show (April 24, 2009) to name a few. We have been used as a resource to tens of thousands of parents, school districts and medical personnel seeking information, direction and Dangers of the Choking Game Presentations in their efforts to prevent a tragedy.

Our Philosophy

The DB Foundation operates on a 'community based and community driven' philosophy. As a community, we each bring to the table our own personal, often tragic, experience and knowledge. It is each one of these voices, coming together creating our passion and united front as we gain ground on reaching other communities for the sake of education and preventative measures against dangerous adolescent behaviors. Not a single voice is ever turned away from wishing to help join our forces



Be in the Know!

We believe education of the dangers of this activity is key in prevention and risk reduction. Studies have shown education methods best practice depend on the age of the audience.

Education of risk behavior prevention begins within the home. Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of the Choking Game and the risks.

We aim to educate adults; parents, care takers and relatives of young children and tweens and encourage open, age appropriate, dialogue. This dialogue often begins in a familiar manner, with a very young child, with the warning of never placing a plastic bag over their head. Instilling in the child they need air to breath and be safe.

Preteens are more inclined to learn directly from their parents. Youth of this age have stated in surveys the biggest deterrent was learning they could have a stroke, results of a coma or death. Conversations could be geared more toward to possible devastating results combined with methods and tips to combat peer pressure.

Older teens are more receptive to education from a Victim, Victim's family or peers. In our presentations, either the presenter themselves is a victim's family member (usually a parent).

Based on this research, we focus our education efforts on parents and families of youth under 13 years of age. For the older teen population, we target the youth themselves.




Youth who might participate range in age from 7-21 and it is especially common in middle school aged children. Survey data indicate boys and girls are equally likely to participate in groups but boys are more likely to attempt it alone. The goal is a desired 'floaty', 'tingling', 'high' sensation. However, not all participants are seeking a 'high' , some participate as a pass time, out of curiosity, or as a result of peer pressure.  Many do not perceive a risk when engaging in this practice.
Unlike AeA (auto erotic asphyxia), 'Choking Game' does not involve a sexual component

The object of the 'game' is asphyxiation, as in, to apply pressure restricting oxygen and/or blood flow to the brain. This is accomplished several methods. Diminishing oxygen to the brain produces a sensation or 'high' and the beginning of permanent cell death. When the victim is rendered unconscious, the pressure is released and the secondary 'high' of the oxygen/blood rushing to the brain is achieved. If the victim is alone - upon unconsciousness there is no one to release the pressure and the victims own body weight continues to tighten the ligature usually resulting in death.




Bear hug Chest compression (group), Palms to Chest compression (group) , Choke Hold neck Compression (group), Hyperventilation combined with any of the previously mentioned (group) , Palms to Carotid Neck Compression (group and solo), Hyperventilation with Thumb Blow (solo) , Thumb Blow (solo), Ligature (solo).
Unconsciousness can occur in a matter of seconds. Within three minutes of continued strangulation, basic functions such as memory, balance, and the central nervous system start to fail. Death occurs shortly after. Other consequences include bruises and concussions, broken bones. seizures, brain damage, memory loss, retinal hemorrhaging, and stroke.

"Typical" PROFILE

Unlike other risk-taking behaviors, self-choking often occurs across the spectrum of adolescents. 9 -16 is the most common age and it is predominantly male participants who are the fatal victims. Although younger and older adolescents along with females are involved.






The DB Foundation has been invited and presented to countless parents, professionals and approximately 40,000 Middle & High School Students across the United States.  Initally these requests to DBF were in reaction to a fatality or incident within the community.  Most recently education of this risky behavior is becoming increasingly accepted in as a proactive measure. 
There is no scientific theory, study or evidence based practice backing a theory often heard: 
"We do not want to encourage our children to emmulate this behavior by providing them education on the topic."
We believe youth require the tools of accurate, realistic, age appropriate, information to make better decisions.  We never display, in any way, the methods of participating in the Choking Game a youth audience.  We do share the real life consequences of a decison to 'play' by sharing an actual 911 call within the presentation.  The presentation is adaptable for special circumstances or audiences.



Their presentation was both extremely informative and profoundly moving. Our students were quite stunned about the deadly realities of the consequences from the choking game. I do not have any doubt that these children will ever consider this risky game,and that they will spread the word to others about its dangers."

~ PTO President 2010
"Thank you so much for providing such valuable information. I only wish more of my parents would have come. Sadly My community is one that believes, "not in my neighborhood". They are really kidding themselves."

~ Middle School Principal 2010




Prevention within your own family begins with an honest discussion about the consequences of participating in The Choking Game.
Our presentation surveys show 75% of Middle School aged children already know about it - you are not telling them something they have not already been exposed to by their peers. The problem lies in what their peers have failed to mention- the dangers. Please also be aware that children as young as Kindergarten have been reportedly 'choked out' by their peers emulating an episode or conversation displayed by an older sibling or neighbor.

Texting: Be on alert for these text symbols    ;)/// ;;})))

Computer / Cell Phone: Check your child's computer/cell phone for websites containing Pass Out or Choking Game. Also look for videos created, viewed or uploaded by your child from video sharing sites like MySpace or YouTube. Popular tags are Fainting Game, Passing Out.



Young Children - There is no age too young for this warning. Children as young as Kindergarten have 'played' the Choking Game. Convey to children of this age the importance of breathing and the dangers in function of their body. It goes hand-in-hand with the talk every parent has with their preschooler about never putting plastic bags over their head or anything around their neck.

Keep talking as your child enters Middle School. Be mindful of the warning signs.

Middle School - The median age for Choking Game participants is 13.5 years old, Middle School aged. With so many parents unaware of the Choking Game, we recommend Middle Schools include brief Choking Game Information in their Welcome Back to School newsletters as children enter Middle School. With parents aware, the school district aware there is then a united front in keep youth safe.

High School - include Choking Game in the curriculum of Health Study and/or Youth Risk Prevention Programs already covering inhalants, OTC abuse, etc. Continue the conversation of risky behaviors and good decision making. Listen to your child, really heard what they are saying.



Honestly and openly approach the child. Ask -what do you know about the Choking Game (pass out game) 'game'?   Be prepared: Many parents are shocked at the answer. Explain the dangers to them - they are injuring their brain every time.  They risk stroke, seizures and cardiac arrest and injury- even when they are doing it in a group!
  • Increase supervision- be aware of your child's activities and whereabouts even to the point of making an 'open door' rule. Your child's safety is more valuable than their privacy.
  • Remove any paraphernalia that could be used as a ligature (belts, scarves, cords, even closet rods if you must)
  • Alert school personnel (see the sample letters) If one student is involved, there are others
  • Alert the parents of your children's friends.
  • Consult with a physician to address any health needs that have resulted
  • If an older teen is involved, younger children in the same family may be at risk for participating in this activity




The Compassionate Friends

We are so sorry you have reason to read this page. But we hope you find guidance and a glimmer of hope here.
A national Self-help group for bereaved families with Chapters located across the U.S
This page was created because often parents come to us in their hour of crisis, not knowing what to do. And justly so, losing a child is every parents worst nightmare. No one thinks it will happen to them - it is just unnatural. If you would like to talk directly with a support parent please contact us and we will help buddy you with a parent who has suffered a similar loss but is a years into their grief.

Seek out people who you trust that you can be yourself and feel the range of emotions that come with this loss: Counseling, Friends, Support Groups are all great places to start. There are several places on the net where Parents are available, check out the Facebook link  or the Yahoo! Groups link (on the left) to get connected with other families right now .
Your health (both physical and mental) should be the priority.  The most important action to take for creating awareness is to place your child's name in the database. The database is the main source of proving how deadly and how immense this issue truly is.
Click Here to register on the database.

Talk about your story to anyone that will listen, share it with your local media and if the opportunity arises (and you feel up to it) speak to the school district of your child about education of the Choking Game. Chances are, your child is not the only one to know about it.  DBF is experienced and more than willing to help you in any of these instances.
In the first months of grief you will probably receive the Death Certificate. If you disagree with the ruling, many cases are misruled as suicide initially,  we can share with you sucessful action taken by others  towards amending. There is no time limit as to when you can request to amend a Death Certificate.



Medical Research Papers

The Choking Game: Physician Perspectives
Jan. 28, 2009
"Close to one third of physicians surveyed were unaware of the choking game, a potentially life-threatening activity practiced by adolescents. Despite acknowledging that the choking game should be included in adolescent anticipatory guidance, few physicians reported actually discussing it. To provide better care for their adolescent patients, pediatricians and family practitioners should be knowledgable about risky behaviors encountered by their patients, including the choking game, and provide timely guidance about its dangers. "
Julie L. McClave, MDa, Patricia J. Russell, MDb, Anne Lyren, MD, MScc,d, Mary Ann O'Riordan, MSe, Nancy E. Bass, MDf
"The Choking Game - A Deadly Game is Resurfacing"
"Adolescent Shorts" 
Daryl A Lynch, MD Chief, Section of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Mercy Hospital Missouri
Endorsed by the Missouri American Academy of Pediatrics and the MidWest Chapter of Adolescent Medicine
On The Choking Game: Child's Play (Jan 2006)
ABC's 20/20 Q & A with Dr. Andrew
The Medical Examiner; Findings by Dr. Thomas Andrew - Choking Game/ Asphyxia
Dr. Thomas A. Andrew, M.D., FCAP, FAAP (Chief Medical Examiner of New Hampshire & Pediatrician)
Injury Prevention 2001;7:231-233
Dr. McNab - Canada
Dr. Ronald Petersis an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at the UT School of Public Health.
Read More......
Preteenagers Today; iParenting
Gina Roberts-Grey
Stop The Choking Game - March 2006
Traumatic Brain Injury
The Guidance Channel Online
Julie Rosenbluth, MPH, CHES American Council For Drug Education




Bringing increased awareness to the dangers of the choking game involves entire communties across the U.S. and overseas. By increasing exposure of what it's about, by wearing a Tee shirt, placing a bumper sticker on your vehicle or having a tote bag, you are increasing awareness, starting the conversation and reducing the mystery.


Choking Game Victims are recognized and included in raising awareness together by having their names listed on the back side of the shirts and hoodies. 

The child must be a victim of the Choking Game and be registered on the database. The database registration includes an authorization. You chose to include or exclude your child.