Current Trends in Cardiology

Review Article - Current Trends in Cardiology (2017) Volume 1, Issue 2

Sudden death on the playing field: Can we prevent it?

From the ancient Greek Olympics to the high school gymnasium, competitive sports have become an increasingly important part of human culture. At an early age, children around the world are introduced and encouraged into sports by their parents and peers. For some, playing sports becomes a regular part of life even as they enter adulthood. The medical profession has always been encouraging of physical activity. With the rising obesity epidemic, even the recent Obama administration, spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama, started a campaign called “Let’s Move” to promote exercise among our children. Regular physical activity has been shown to improve many markers of health and can ward off diseases fraught with high morbidity and mortality, like diabetes and obesity. However, as the intensity level of sports increases, there remains controversy as to the advantages of certain vigorous forms of exercise. In rare but dramatic circumstances, young athletes can experience sudden cardiac death on the playing field. There are some evidence-based guidelines to help the cardiologist manage the young athlete before they step foot onto the playing field, but major differences exist in different countries as to how this evidence is interpreted and how cost-effectiveness plays a role.

Author(s): Rohan R. Wagle, Melvin D. Cheitlin

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