Cardiac arrest developments as notable cases in young athletes rise

In 2023, there has been an increase in notable cardiac arrest cases among young athletes.
Updated: Aug. 14, 2023 at 8:00 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - From Bronny James to Damar Hamlin, in 2023, there has been an increase in notable cardiac arrest cases among young athletes.

According to the National Institute of Health, cardiac arrests are caused by certain types of arrhythmias that prevent the heart from pumping blood.

“The cause of a cardiac arrest predominantly in younger people is being precipitated by a ventricular arrhythmia, which is essentially a fatal arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm of the bottom chamber of the heart which are the ventricles,” says Fawzi Ameer, M.D., cardiologist.

Despite these cases being rare, parents and coaches should be prepared in the event of a cardiac arrest occurring.

“It’s something we should still be very cognizant of; we should be very aware of because you know it can obviously be catastrophic and it’s very preventable. Meaning stopping the arrest when it’s still to that point is actually something we can fix relatively easily and if schools and teams are aware of the measures to do so it’s something we can implement relatively easily,” he continues.

While there is no way of predicting when a cardiac arrest can happen, Doctor encourages parents to always make sure their athlete has had a physical before returning to athletics this school year.

“It’s incredibly important to get a pre-athletic or pre-school physical. It’s recommended by the American Heart Association, recommended by the American College of Cardiology, European Society of Cardiology, throughout the world, it’s important to have a comprehensive history and physical done before you start to partake in physical activity or any type of sport,” Ameer finishes.

In case of an emergency, always call 911 before beginning CPR.