Student-athlete health concern: cardiac arrests

Alyssa VanMeter, Staff Writer

Many student-athletes have taken a trip to the hospital. Some of them are in critical condition, while others have even died. Doctors are doing their best to take care of patients while doing the research to understand what is going on with many of the students coming in with heart problems. Many would think that being an athlete means that you have a healthy body and mind. Doctors are thinking differently.

Student-athletes are coming into emergency rooms with heart problems and concerned parents. Doctors have said that a common reason so many students are coming in is due to the fact that their hearts have been overworked. Several athletes have been tested and show a common heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy also known as HCM. This is when the lining of the heart thickens causing it to not to pump blood thoroughly to the body. Several athletes with this condition aren’t able to get enough blood throughout their bodies. The blood carries oxygen which helps the body during exercise. When students have this condition, they often will feel chest pain, lightheadedness, pounding in the chest, and shortness of breath. Most students don’t know that they have a heart condition; most think that they have overworked themselves and need a break. If this condition is not caught early enough, then it causes the cardiac arrest which most students die from since their bodies don’t get all of the nutrients they need from a lack of blood-flow. When students get diagnosed with this condition, they are forced to stop their physical activity for the heart lining to shrink down to its normal thickness. Several doctors would prescribe a Beta-blocker which decreases the activity in the heart, allowing for the heart to relax more and to also block the reaction of hormones like adrenaline. Depending on how far along the student is in the condition, a pacemaker would be surgically placed into the patient. 

Nearly 1 million student-athletes die a year because of cardiac arrest. Doctors and scientists are doing everything in their power to find a way to treat students with this condition. Several students around the world will be missed and the support goes out to all the families that have to deal with it all.