Real Life

The Fainting Game: Playing With Death

This ain’t no game. The fainting game is harmful to your body, and puts you at risk of death.

Fainting Game

Have you heard of the pastime for thousands of young teens across North America? It’s a game that gives a quick high, but it can kill. It’s known to many as “the pass-out game,” “the fainting game,” ‘the choking game”, “the tingling game,” “the blackout game,” and perhaps the most suitable name “suffocation roulette.”

If you do have young friends or family who take turns making each other faint, make sure they know they’re gambling with their lives. When teens apply pressure around a friend’s neck to make them faint, they’re constricting the windpipe and cutting off the brain’s supply of oxygen. After fainting, the pressure around the neck is released, and oxygen rushes back to the brain, resulting in a brief, euphoric high. Those playing may think it’s fun, but it’s deadly. Some even play the fainting game regularly, often doing it repeatedly for hours at a time, and may become addicted to the high, an addiction that is extremely dangerous.

“Addicted teens are using bicycle chains to make themselves faint.”

You may have heard a classmate or acquaintance argue that the fainting game is a safe alternative to taking drugs, but they’re wrong. The addictive side effects and risk of death are still there. In fact, some teens are so addicted to the high they play the game by themselves, using their hands, belts, and even bicycle chains to make themselves faint. Regrettably, it’s easy to induce fainting, but it’s not so easy to revive yourself or to restore lost oxygen to your brain. If you suspect a friend is involved, make sure they’re aware of this problem.

The technical term for a lack of oxygen supply to the brain is cerebral hypoxia. Since brain cells are so sensitive to oxygen deprivation, they start dying less than five minutes after their oxygen supply is cut off. In mild cases, hypoxia causes inattentiveness, poor judgment and reduced motor coordination. But, more often than not, reduced oxygen to the brain causes severe brain damage, comas, and can even result in death.

What your friends may consider “just a game” has extremely dangerous side effects. Just ask the parents and friends of the many teens who have died from playing. If you have friends who have played this game and who want to play again, ask them if the rush they get for a few seconds is really worth their lives.

Do you think anyone you know is involved in this deadly game?
Watch for these signs:

• Red or bloodshot eyes
• Marks around the neck where excessive pressure has been applied
• Complaints of headaches or dizziness

What should you do if someone doesn’t wake up?

Send for help or call 911 immediately. The sooner medical attention is given and the brain’s oxygen supply is restored, the lower the chance of severe brain damage or death.
Administer CPR. Lay the unconscious person on the floor, lift the chin to clear the airway, plug the nose, take a deep breath, and breathe into the victim’s mouth. Check for a pulse—often chest compressions are necessary if they haven’t been breathing for some time. For step-by-step CPR, visit


Written by Faze intern and contributor Mandy Abrahams

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15 thoughts on “The Fainting Game: Playing With Death

  1. Clover

    So it’s 2018 and a kid just died from playing this stupid game. Now for the ignorant shitheads who were asking “where’s the harm?” back in 2017, let me answer you question. It’s in the grief of family of the 12 year old boy who died on mothers day.

  2. Ethan Black

    You said that brain cells start to die within under 5 mins, but when you hyperventilate then blow against you’re thumb, you’re only without oxygen for like 5 seconds, if you count the 30 secs spent hyperventilating its still only 35 secs, even doing 60 secs should be fine if they die after 5 mins, so where’s the harm?

    1. This article was meant to scare people off from this activity. There is no brain damage if the brain is without oxygen for few seconds! Brain damage only occurs if the brain is without circulation for 3 minutes or more. This activity induces an artificial syncope. However it must be noted that some people might have a certain medical condition that would make them susceptible to strokes when playing this activity (such as dislodging of plaques on the carotid artery)! so its not safe and is considered risky!

      1. You don’t hold the windpipe. There’s a pressure point somewhere around the neck. Plus you hold it for no longer than 10secs

    2. J Probst

      Sadly the fact that you are trying to justify this act scares me. I grew up practicing this game. Unfortunately for me i didnt think it would ave an effect but it did. I am now an adult many many years later with issues with balance behavior and memory issues. I also have massive headaches when i have to hold my breath simply like a sneeze or cough. Major pain in my head that simply would not have happened had i not played these stupid games. I can only say it may be just a few seconds but the damage you do you will never know until later. Good luck. Please double think what you do today.

      1. Thanks very much for sharing that J. Should be obvious that brain damage (or worse) is a high risk outcome of cutting off the vital oxygen supply to your brain.

  3. Kristy

    I do it a different way I hyperventilate then I stand up and hold my breath does that cause any damaged as well

    1. We have a family in my neighborhood who just lost their 12 year old son from this. No parent should have to bury their 12 year old son. Don’t mess around with this game.

      1. So sad to hear that. Very tragic. We featured this article on the cover of Faze Magazine a full 12 years ago, awful to hear it’s still taking a toll on young lives.

  4. spongebob

    i dont get why people would wanna do this stupid stuff, i mean passing out does not sound fun, at all. And especialy if it means loosing brain cells i sure as heck need thos

    1. You don’t “lose” brain cells from this activity. However it’s dumb anyway because you can lose consciousness and hit your head somewhere. This activity induces and artificial syncope, basically brain cells lose adequate oxygen supply to generate enough ATP to maintain their electrical function which is what gives you consciousness. Brain cells only get damaged if they go without circulation for over 3 minutes.

  5. So this stuff can actually kill you how many times do you have to do it for it to do that because you would think that it wouldn’t right? But how does it do that to people I mean you loose air but then you get it back so it really wouldn’t kill you right?