SOUTH JORDAN – A public viewing is held for a 12-year old boy who died doing something that many kids believe is a harmless game. His mother hopes his story will save lives by convincing them to not play it.
Tua Muai died Friday while playing “the fainting game.” It’s been around for decades, and it knocks people unconscious after cutting off oxygen to the brain. His mother, Celestia, can remember kids in her junior high school playing it.
“There have been many people that have since contacted me saying that they have also lost a child to this game,” according to Celestia Muai.
She says Tua was a bright, beautiful boy who always reassured her that he would take care of her. He was the kind of kid who loved being with his friends and absolutely adored the game of football.
“He had a very strong spirit. [He was] strong willed. He loved his mom. He’d always say, ‘Are you OK, mom?’ or, ‘Don’t worry, mom. I’ll take care of you. You don’t have to worry,’” Muai says.
His coach, Bryan Ellison, says Tua was the hardest hitting kid on the field. However, even if he knocked a kid down, he would always be the first to help that other player get back up.
“He wanted to play for Herriman High School. He wanted to play for BYU. Truly, honestly, he was the kind of kid who would play on Sundays,” Ellison says.
He believes a lot of kids who have played the fainting game don’t know how deadly it can be. He says one rugby coach asked his players if they’d ever heard of it.
“A lot of them said, ‘Yeah.’ One of them laughed and said, ‘We did it today at school. Six of us,’” Ellison says.
The public is invited to Tua’s funeral at 11 a.m. at the LDS Church at 3760 Rushton View Drive.