An Oklahoma City basketball team for young boys and teens is mourning the loss of a player who died, according to police, when he attempted the TikTok ‘Black Out’ challenge.
Just before midnight, Bethany police responded to the Western Oaks Apartments located at 7400 Northwest 22nd Street on reports of an unresponsive juvenile with ligature marks around his neck.
The victim has been identified as Kai Ross.
Ross died the next morning at OU Children’s Hospital.
The ‘Black Out’ challenge has made rounds on social media. It is a challenge where a person chokes themselves until passing out.
Ross, a 7th grader at Capps Middle School, was a member of the Oklahoma Icons basketball team.
Oklahoma Icons works to help get metro kids involved in sports such as football, basketball, baseball and cheerleading.
“In practices, he would challenge you to challenge him if that makes sense,” said Oklahoma Icon’s President and 6th grade basketball coach, Brad Chatman. “He would give me a reason to coach and to be stern because he needed that.”
A basketball game was played Tuesday night at the Santa Fe Life Center in North Oklahoma City, in Ross’ honor.
“At 12-years-old you kind of understand death a little bit so they have been all very mature about it,” said Chatman. “We told them all, mourn how you mourn, cry about it, be upset, and we will get through it together.”
The opposing team presented the Icons with a sympathy card.
“It definitely helps you feel like you are not alone,” said Chatman. “I think it helps kids feel like there is somebody else that feels what they feel and is empathizing with them.”
The nonprofit has set up a GoFundMe page to help Ross’ family with funeral expenses.
Bethany police released the following statement Tuesday, with the warning that parents pay attention to what their children are doing online.
“The loss of a loved one is very traumatic to all and our condolences go out to the family. We would like to warn parents to stay involved with their children and take the time to look what they are doing on social media. Now more than ever due to the lockdowns, kids are bored and looking to occupy their time. Social media is a very influential part of a child’s life and should be heavily scrutinized by parents.”
“Challenges are not supposed to be for people to laugh at you or for people to think that something is cool,” said Chatman. “Challenges should be because you’re setting goals, you’re trying to achieve something.”