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Harsh words for allowing competitive athletics....

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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Harsh words for allowing competitive athletics....

    These events took place in the UK. "footballers"=soccer for those none sports minded folks like myself.

    HEADLINE: Deaths of young sportsmen spark medical controversy

    BYLINE: Stephane Mandard

    DATELINE: March 2

    BODY:

    Several top sportsmen have died unexpectedly in the past few months. They
    include basketball player Raimond Jumikis, footballers Marc-Vivien Foe and
    Miklos Feher, all of whom died while playing in matches, and cyclist Fabrice
    Salanson.

    Post-mortems on Jumikis and Feher revealed that they had a congenital heart
    malformation. Foe suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a congenital
    disorder that results in an excessive thickening of the heart muscle.

    Cardiologist Pierre Legalery says: "It's the main cause of death among
    sportsmen who train for more than 10 hours a week."

    The received medical wisdom is that people suffering from HCM should not
    engage in competitive sport or intense sporting activity.
    So could some of the
    recent deaths have resulted from medical negligence?
    When Salanson died of
    cardiac arrest during his sleep, the public prosecutor's office took out
    proceedings for manslaughter.
    A month before the cyclist's death, a health
    checkup had produced an "abnormal electrocardiogram". And yet he was not
    advised to stop practising an intensive sport.

    "The results of the checkup should have led to a complementary test such as
    an echocardiogram, in order to detect a possible pathology. But nothing was
    done," says Didier Domat, the Salanson family's lawyer.

    While a disorder like HCM cannot usually be diagnosed with an
    electro-cardiogram, it shows up in an echo-cardiogram. A more widespread use of
    echocardiograms could detect cardiac disorders in future. On the other hand, it
    could be that HCM does not explain everything.

    "I'm appalled by the kind of explanations that are given for the string of
    sudden deaths," says Professor Jean-Paul Escande, former head of the National
    Commission against Doping. "It's outrageous to claim that these are inevitable
    deaths from natural causes. They are the medical result of doping during
    training, which changes the body considerably. Why, for example, don't the
    authorities allow the effects of the growth hormone on sportsmen's hearts to be
    studied? Because they don't want to know."

    Doping experts agree that growth hormones and anabolic steroids can, in the
    medium or long term, cause disorders of the cardiovascular system. If a
    sportsman already has a heart malformation, the result will be more explosive.

    "Steroids and corticoids have a hypertrophic effect on the size of the heart,
    " says cardiologist Alain Cohen-Solal. "It's impossible to tell from a
    post-mortem whether a thickening of the heart muscle was due to HCM or to
    doping."

    Post-mortems on the young sportsmen who died recently did not reveal the
    presence of drugs. "But if the products are taken during training, a
    post-mortem will not necessarily reveal them," says Escande.

    "To conclude that death was due to HCM settles the problem: you can say
    doping wasn't involved," says Cohen-Solal, "but that also casts doubt on
    examinations performed earlier, which should have revealed the disorder."
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

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