Enlarged heart biggest cause of sudden death in young athletes

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Experts say an enlarged heart is the biggest cause of sudden death among young athletes, but the deaths could be prevented with more and better screening.

The issue is on the minds of cardiologists at an American Heart Association meeting after 28-year-old Ryan Shay died while running in New York over the weekend at the men's marathon Olympic trials. Shay's father says his son was first diagnosed with an enlarged heart when he was 14.

One doctor says the medical community must use his death as an example to try to prevent future problems. She says heart problems that can cause an irregular heartbeat and sudden death are often missed because there isn't enough uniform screening of athletes.

An analysis of nearly 400 cases from the Minneapolis Heart Institute's national registry shows the vast majority were cardiac-related.

Shay was an athlete at Notre Dame. He was remembered with a moment of silence before the football game Saturday afternoon.

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