12-Year-Old Boy Dies After Playing ‘Choking Game’ With Friends, Prompting Warning From Utah Mom

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A Utah mother is speaking out following the death of her 12-year-old son, who died last week after playing a "fainting game" with his friends.

“I spent Mother's Day planning my son’s funeral, writing his obituary, instead of having breakfast or flowers or 'I love you mom,'” Celestia Muai told KTLA sister station KSTU in Salt Lake City. “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 Muai, 12, was playing with friends Friday afternoon when his mother found him unconscious and called 911. Tua had been playing a game also known as the "choking game" with his friends, where the goal is to cut off oxygen to the brain on themselves or others to get a high or a rush.

“He was just playing a game and he didn't think things through,” Muai said.

Muai  called her family to the hospital.

“To see my sister there grieving at the side of her son on a hospital bed was very very difficult as my heart tore for her,” said Michael Ballard, Tua's Uncle.

“This one hurt, this hurts,” said Bryan Ellison, Tua’s Football Coach. “It was like ice in my veins it's something that I never ever will forget ever."

Tua's football coach was like his father and his teammates were family.

The pre-teen was known for his beautiful smile, now frozen in pictures and memories.

“I would hate or any other mother to go through what I’m going through and any other children to go through,” Muai said.

His mother hopes to prevent other tragedies by sharing her son's story.

“There's nothing that can take the pain away but if it can save one child one parent one family.... then it will make more sense,” she said.

The Muai family, who live in South Jordan, have been overwhelmed with support from the community -- something they had just a year and a half ago when Muai lost her husband.

The single mother of eight children is now preparing for her son’s funeral this week. A YouCaring fundraising campaign has been set up to help the family pay for it.

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