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Reckoning with race in sports cardiology: a call to action
  1. Aubrey Grant1,
  2. Sheela Krishnan2,
  3. Merije Chukumerije3,
  4. James Sawalla Guseh1,
  5. Jonathan H Kim4
  1. 1 Cardiovascular Performance Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  2. 2 Department of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  3. 3 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
  4. 4 Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jonathan H Kim, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA;{at}

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It is widely understood that race is a social and not biological construct,1 and racial disparities significantly impact cardiovascular health outcomes. Understanding the effects of social determinants of health, racial essentialism and discrimination on cardiovascular outcomes is crucial to improve health equity and requires a critical examination of race-based clinical practices. The nascent field of sports cardiology is no exception to this charge. Racial disparities in sudden cardiac death (SCD) risk among athletes and race-based differences in athletic ECG interpretation both require further discussion in this context, along with consideration of the barriers perpetuated by a lack of diversity in sports medicine and sports cardiology.

Sudden cardiac death

Black athletes experience a higher incidence of SCD and lower postcardiac arrest survival rates despite no apparent differences in prevalent genetic cardiovascular conditions associated with SCD compared with white athletes.2 3 Ostensibly, the same complex socioeconomic factors that result in higher rates of SCD and lower rates of postarrest survival among black individuals in the general population may also contribute to disparate outcomes in young black athletes. It is essential that future research initiatives in sports cardiology seek to identify …

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  • AG and SK are joint first authors.

  • JSG and JHK are joint senior authors.

  • Twitter @AubJGrantMD, @jonathankimmd

  • Correction notice This article has been corrected since it published Online First. The second author's name has been corrected.

  • Contributors All authors contributed materially to the conception, writing and/or revision of this work. All authors have given permission to be included as authors.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

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