Every year about 200,000 people die a sudden related death In the United States during or just after sports. In the Netherlands, the number is estimated to be between 150 to 200 people, in Belgium between 150 and 300. Not the sport itself is the cause but mostly a hidden heart disease is to blame. In athletes over the age of 35 usually an aneurysm or a heart attack is the cause, but in younger athletes that cause is unlikely. Young athletes often have congenital heart diseases, of which they were unaware.
After a brief introduction on the problem of sudden death, we will give an overview of notable cases of sudden death in athletes since the year 2000 that we encountered during our research.
When an athlete gets heart problems during or after sports, there is usually a reaction of disbelief. Surely this can not happen to a healthy, well-trained person! Regular sports do not make human beings immune to cardiovascular disease. A sports medical examination, steady and structured training and being aware of signs of cardiovascular disease can prevent a lot of suffering.
Causes of sudden death in sports: