Heart Attacks and Young Athletes


Over the past two years (2021 and 2022), more than 1,650 professional and amateur athletes have collapsed due to a cardiac event and 1,148 of them were fatal. Recently, Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on live television during a game. A condition called commotio cordis is known to cause cardiac events in baseball when a player is hit dead on in the sternum with a fast-moving baseball. This occurs 20-30 x per year in baseball. It has never been reported to have occurred in football. Cardiac doctors interviewed over the Damar Hamlin incident feel that commotio cordis can be ruled out as the cause of heart failure. The most typical cause of cardiac arrest in athletes is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This condition is an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle. Another issue that can lead to cardiac arrest in athletes is the adrenaline rush. During exercise or a sporting event, the body’s stress hormone adrenaline is pumping. If that particular athlete has some degree of unknown heart damage, the adrenaline rush can trigger cardiac arrest. Sadly, this adrenaline rush cardiac event not only effects athletes with damaged heart tissue, but it can effect anyone with damaged heart tissue and explains why a lot of cardiac events occur during a person’s sleep. The body releases adrenalin during a normal night’s sleep between 3 am and 6am. Why the sudden increase in athlete related cardiac arrest? Researchers have reported on the link between myocarditis in young people after receiving the covid-19 vaccine. Myocarditis is an Inflammation of the middle layer of the heart wall. Myocarditis can weaken the heart, which can lead to heart failure, abnormal heartbeat, and sudden death. The current hypothesis is that undetected myocarditis in conjunction with athletic adrenaline rush, could be a possible cause of the increase in athletes collapsing on the field. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported on the link between myocarditis and covid vaccination in their research paper titled, Myocarditis Cases Reported After mRNA-Based COVID-19 Vaccination in the US From December 2020 to August 2021.

Speaking of covid-19, there is a new variant making the rounds. This variant, called XBB.1.5, has been named the “Kraken Variant,” Named after the legendary sea monster that could not be defeated. I am guessing the name Kraken was chosen to scare the general public about the chances of catching covid. The good news is while this variant is more transmissible, it causes milder illness than the other variants with most people only experiencing only mild cold symptoms.

One last covid item: The CDC and the FDA announced last week that they are investigating a possible link between the Pfizer bivalent MRNA Comirnaty Covid Biologic vaccine and the increased incidence of stroke among people over the age of 65. Data from the CDC vaccine safety datalink uncovered a “safety signal,” suggesting those in that age group are more likely to suffer a stroke 21 days after getting the vaccination.