Elite players risk of sudden cardiac death higher than thought - study

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The risk of elite footballers suffering sudden cardiac death is "much higher than previously believed", extensive new research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, revealed last year. The research shows the likelihood of sudden cardiac death in footballers is one in 14,700 annually

A study conducted by St George's, University of London, analysed more than 11,000 players over a 10-year period from the ages of 16-17. Eight died during exercise - six from conditions which went unidentified, and two who were diagnosed with the underlying condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and were advised against competitive sport.

Diseases that affect the heart muscle - cardiomyopathies - are silent killers. The first symptom can be the heart suddenly stopping.

Two years ago, St George's College skipper Dominic James got a seizure and collapsed just two minutes into a Manning Cup game. He got medical assistance on the pitch, but was rushed to the Medical Associates Hospital where he was pronounced dead.