UPDATE: Columbus Teen Dies After "Choking Game"

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UPDATE Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 -- 5:15 pm
By Zac Schultz

Columbus: A 17 year old boy from Columbus is dead, apparently after playing "the choking game" at his home.

Friday evening, around 5:30, the parents of Mack Jensen found his body in the upstairs of their home in Columbus.

According to his obituary, Jensen died of accidental asphyxiation. He was apparently playing the "choking game". The obituary references the website www.stop-the-choking-game.com

The website says high-achieving teens choke themselves or others as a way to get high without the risk of getting caught with drugs or alcohol.

Mack Jensen fits the definition of a high achieving teen. He was a star athlete- specializing in wrestling and played saxophone in the band.

"Mack is a really, was a really special kid and had friends from a lot of different groups here at Columbus High School," says Principal Connie Valenza.

She opened up the school Friday evening. "We actually had maybe 80 to 90 students come in and we were open here at the high school till 1 o clock that night."

By Saturday there were another hundred students at the school.

Valenza has heard plenty about the choking game. "There certainly is talk about that type of thing, that that could have been a possibility."

The Columbus Police Department says Jensen's death is still under investigation, although they do not suspect foul play.

The Columbia County Medical Examiner says the cause of death is pending, and they are not willing to call it accidental asphyxiation at this time.

Valenza won't confirm Mack died from the choking game, but says if he did he was not the only one doing it. "In my conversations with kids here at school I believe it has occurred with some of our students. Certainly parents and school people should be concerned about that kind of thing."

Principal Valenza says they have not handed out information to students or parents about the choking game, but says they will address it this fall.


Posted Monday, July 13, 2009 --- 1:05 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A 17-year-old Columbus student has died after playing a "choking game."

Macklin "Mack" Jensen died Friday while participating in what's also called "space monkey" or "gasp."

GASP is a campaign organized by victims' parents to educate them about the game's dangers. The group says the game typically is played by adolescents who strangle themselves or have others push on their chests to feel light-headed for a few seconds.

Mack Jensen's father, Dan Jensen, says he and his wife weren't aware of it and have since learned how prevalent it is. So they have been trying to spread the word to other parents.

Jensen had been preparing to compete at a national wrestling tournament in Fargo, N.D.

A visitation and memorial will be held at Columbus High School Saturday.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.