A TYRONE mother has warned that school children are risking their lives through a macabre craze dubbed ‘the pass out challenge’.
Lynette Hegarty, from Strabane, spoke out following an incident when her son lost consciousness while attempting the game with friends. Gerard McGarrigle, an 11-year-old pupil at Holy Cross College, was rushed to hospital on Wednesday night after being found unconscious at Springhill Park.
The ‘pass out challenge’ involves asphyxiating or hyperventilating yourself to attain a euphoric high. It comprises of standing against a wall and holding your breath while someone punches you in the chest.
Ms Hegarty said the sight of seeing her eldest son being stretchered away by paramedics was the “scariest moment of her life”. She added that the incident involving her child was far from isolated and that parents needed to be aware of the dangers of the so called ‘game’.
“This is what young people are doing and with Gerard, it went badly wrong,” she told the Tyrone Herald.
“He passed out, fell to the ground and hit his forehead. I’ve been told that he was turning blue because he couldn’t breathe.
“When I arrived he was on a stretcher and when I saw him laying there I honestly thought he was gone. He was unconscious and it didn’t look good at all.”
To his mother’s relief Gerard came round a short time later in the ambulance. But after what she described as the worst experience of her life, Ms Hegarty said the message had to go out to other parents.
“The message is that young people are doing this sort of thing and I nearly lost my son over it. It’s not something they should be doing and it is very, very dangerous. What they are doing starves the brain of oxygen so God knows what state they could end up in.
“I have three younger sons and I want to get the message out to them too about the dangers of it,” she said.
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