04/17/2012 04:48 pm ET

Assante Pettus, 12-Year-Old Boy, Passed Out After Girl Held Plastic Bag Over His Head At School

After gym class let out at York Preparatory Academy in Rock Hill, S.C., 12-year-old Assante Pettus got a dangerous surprise when his also 12-year-old classmate pulled a plastic bag over his head until he passed out, WSOC-TV reports.

"... She pulled it over my head and, you know, the handles, she pulled the handles, so it's like it's over my face and she's pulling the handles," Pettus told the station. "When she put the bag over my head, I couldn't breathe, so I tried to pull it off, but I couldn't pull it off because she was pulling it. And then I passed out."

While the school district maintains the two were just "screwing around" and has not issued any punishment for the girl, WSOC-TV reports that local police are naming her in an investigation of assault and battery with intent to kill.

This incident comes after research published in the journal Pediatrics shows that one in 16 eighth graders admit to playing the "choking game" -- which Reuters defines as "putting pressure on the neck with a towel or belt to cut off someone's oxygen supply, then releasing the pressure to give a 'high' sensation."

New Hampshire Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Andre spoke with ABC News about why the practice is so dangerous.

"The brain gets short circuited," Andre told the network. "You can certainly trigger seizure activity that may or may or not end in permanent damage to the brain."

Last year, parents of Wisconsin 10-year-old Thailan Cash were devastated after they found their son dead with a curtain wrapped around his neck -- a tragedy they blamed on the choking game Thailan had played at school.

"It wasn't a suicide, 'cause he was just too happy and he had no reason to commit suicide," the boy's father, Enzy Curtis, told local Milwaukee station TMJ4. "I think it was just a game he was playing and it got out of hand."

Thailan's mother, Yolanda Cash, remembers warning him after learning he engaged in the risky game at school.