TikTok's Blackout Challenge Leaves 12-Year-Old Boy Brain Dead

As TikTok continues to set trends in pop culture and among youth, it's become one of the most popular social media outlets out there. However, some trends have become incredibly dangerous for some. One young boy is now brain dead because of a trend that has gone viral on TikTok called the "Blackout Challenge," unknowing of the risks involved.

Joshua Haileyesus was found unconscious after participating in the TikTok challenge, also known as the "Passout Challenge," "The Game of Choking," "Speed Dreaming," and "The Fainting Game." His family says the young boy choked himself with a shoelace in an attempt to see how long he could hold his breath. The 12-year-old was found next to his twin brother on the bathroom floor on March 22, when his brother made attempts to resuscitate him.

"The game has actually been around for years," his family wrote on a GoFundMe page, according to TooFab, adding how it's currently "gaining traction on TikTok," among young children. "Unbeknownst to his parents, Joshua had been playing this dangerous game completely unaware of the risks involved. He is currently being intubated and the doctors have said that his chance of survival is extremely unlikely."

His father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, said he was informed of the sad news by doctors that his son does not have a strong chance of living, but Zeryihun said his son is "a fighter." He went on to tell FOX19 that when he was told the bad news of his son possibly not surviving, "I was begging them on the floor, pleading to see if they can give me some time, not to give up on him. If I just give up on him, I feel like I'm just walking away from my son. [...] He's a fighter. I can see him fighting. I'm praying for him every day. It's just heartbreaking to see him laying on the bed."


There are a number of dangerous challenges that have loomed the internet for years now, including the "Skull-Breaker Challenge" where someone sweeps another person's feet out from under them mid-jump and the "Benadryl Challenge" where people chug enough of the medicine to hallucinate. The Benadryl Challenge was responsible for the death of a 15-year-old Oklahoma boy after they drank too much.

"This is something that kids need to be given to be taught, to be counseled. Because this is a serious thing," Zeryihun said to the Denver Channel. "It's not a joke at all. And you can treat it as if somebody is holding a gun. This is how dangerous this is."