Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Though it only comes into the limelight when elite athletes are victims to the largely preventable problem. Could this be because they’re more prone to SCA? Find out below…
Please note that a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest are different things
Heart Attack: A blockage occurs in one or more arteries, preventing blood and oxygen to reach the heart causing the affected muscles to die
Cardiac Arrest: The electrical system of the Heart malfunctions causing fast or irregular heartbeat to occur
Sudden cardiac arrest, and often sudden cardiac death, in athletes is often due to an underlying heart condition which could be picked up, and of course stopped before a tragedy happens. National screening is something that should be law as thousands of young people play sports each week, regularly giving their heart a really good workout. If screening was more frequent amongst professional clubs, or available for all young people, many lives would be saved.
Take our CEO and Founder Tobi Alabi for instance. He devoted everything to football. Tobi put the rest of his life on hold to achieve his dream. Though he was screened at the age of 16 and nothing was found, it didn’t mean things could change. Our bodies change all the time, and Doctors informed Tobi that had he been screened at 17, 18 or 19, his heart problem would most likely of been picked up. Had it been identified, his momentary death in 2014 could have been prevented. This is why it is so important for athletes to be screened, and for the public to have access to screening to stop many lives needlessly ending.
With data showing that young athletes are in fact more susceptible to SCA/SCD than young non-athletes, it shows that there needs to be more of an effort to protect them. This could come from screening, or a forceful effort in CPR education. Here at Heart4More, we have started to educate youth players at Premier and Football League teams, in CPR and AED use. This is a positive step as the more people who know how to react, the more lives can be saved.
Above you can see a community screening day we put on at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. This was an effort to educate people in the benefits of screening, and help those who may have had an issue without knowing.
Calls for screening every young athlete is a vital and valid plea. No price should be put on the life of someone. It’s not just them who are affected either, it’s their friends, family, club mates. For something that could be prevented, screening should be legislation. Fail that, the fact that young athletes are more prone to SCA/SCD, more of an effort needs to be done to educate ALL young athletes across ALL sports.
Remember. SCA/SCD can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Emergency services may not always be on hand and time is vital. So learn CPR, find out where your closest AED (defibrillator) is at work so you’re prepared for a strong possibility.