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What can we do to reduce the number of tragic cardiac events in sport?
  1. Richard Weiler1,2,3,
  2. Mark A Goldstein4,
  3. Ian Beasley5,6,
  4. Jonathan Drezner7,
  5. Jiri Dvorak8
  1. 1University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Sports Medicine and Sports Science, West Ham United Football Club, Essex, UK
  3. 3Department of Sports Medicine and Sports Science, Great Britain Disability Football Association, London, UK
  4. 4Department of Radiology, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, Oxford, UK
  5. 5Department of Medical Services, The Football Association, London, UK
  6. 6Medical Advisor to The Royal Ballet, London, UK
  7. 7University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  8. 8F-MARC (FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Center) and Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Richard Weiler, WHUFC Training Ground, Saville Road, Romford, Essex RM6 6DT, UK; rweiler{at}doctors.org.uk

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The FIFA 2006 Big Count suggested more than 265 million football players are registered worldwide,1 making football one of the most popular and highly participated sports in the world. It is therefore not surprising that tragic cardiac events afflicting footballers are broadcast to the world through intense and emotive media coverage. Media reporting influences perceptions, however, even when these media reports are meticulously searched in high-profile athletes, only about half of sudden cardiac death (SCD) cases are revealed.2 Experts in sports cardiology, sport and exercise medicine and the wider medical community learn from these awful events, which have led to improvements in pitch side and sporting acute medical care, the development of numerous practical and educational ‘sport-specific prehospital emergency care guidelines’ and the development of cardiac screening programmes to try and identify a range of structural and electrical cardiac conditions that can lead to SCD in sport. …

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