Boy, 12, 'brain dead after trying TikTok "Blackout Challenge" that dares people to choke themselves until unconscious'

A BOY has been left left brain dead after reportedly trying the TikTok “Blackout Challenge” that sees people choke themselves until they lose consciousness.

Joshua Haileyesus, a 12-year-old from Colorado, was found by his twin brother passed out on his bathroom floor on March 22.



The “Blackout Challenge” has been trending on social media apps such as TikTok, and involves participants using household items to choke themselves until they pass out.

Joshua’s family believe he was trying to choke himself with a shoelace as part of the challenge.

Just a few days before he was found, Joshua had bragged to his brother that he was able to hold his breath for a minute. 

His devastated father, Haileyesus Zeryihun, has said Joshua is a “fighter” and he is “praying for him every day.”

He went on: “It’s just heartbreaking to see him laying on the bed.”

Doctors have told Joshua’s family the young boy is brain dead and that they need to prepare to say goodbye.



Zeryihun said: “Told me the bad news that he’s not going to survive, he’s not going to make it.“

“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.”

Joshua’s parents said the boy often used social media, which has helped him learn new passions such as cooking, guitar and acting. 

He was exposed to the positive aspects of social media and technology, but also was exposed to their dangers, they said.

“This is something that kids need to be given to be taught – to be counseled. Because this is a serious a serious thing,” his father told 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,” he added.

The family hopes their story will inspire others to talk about any potential games out there that could seriously hurt another child.

“I’m paying the price right now. I’m living the life, and I hate for other parents to go through this,” Zeryihun said.

On Monday night, several dozen friends, relatives and neighbors gathered at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora to pray for a miracle.

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