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Sudden cardiac death: mandatory exclusion of athletes at risk is a step too far
  1. Lynley Anderson1,
  2. Dan Exeter2,
  3. Lynne Bowyer1
  1. 1Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Unisports Centre for Sports Medicine, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Lynley Anderson, Bioethics Centre, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand; lynley.anderson{at}


Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young athletes is a distressing event and it is not surprising that some physicians working with sports people are proposing that preventive action should be taken. There is a push for a system similar to that established in some countries, which involves screening and mandatory exclusion of those at risk. We argue that while screening can provide useful information to at-risk athletes making decisions about their future athletic careers, mandatory exclusion of athletes is paternalistic and such decisions are not rightfully within the domain of medicine.

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  • Funding A small grant of around £500 was obtained from the University of Otago for a research assistant.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned, externally peer reviewed.