Yesterday and today I've also been in the National congress of Sport Medicine in Lisbon. Some proeminent portuguese doctors have discussed medical screening strategies in athletes, complex arrythmias, training loads and endocrine, oesteomuscular and cardiovascular modifications in athletes... The sudden death was a current theme discussed there.
I loved these days and in the end, I kept the frightening idea that high level competition may not be as harmless as I thought. Here I leave some themes discussed there:
- The actual training loads of high level teenager athletes are proved to be harmful (affecting the teenage development and maybe his heart's impulse conducting system in long term).
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a big heart muscle) is the cause of almost 40% of sudden deaths in athletes.
- A great part of sudden deaths are a result of genetic disorders (mainly disorders that affect ion channels in the cells of the heart) that in an ideal world should be early detected in the athlete screenings and properly treated.
- A simple Electrocardiogram and a proper clinical examination are enough to search the majority of sudden death causes.
- The overtraining causes a great damage in the body, mainly via IGF-1, a catabolic growth factor produced in the liver. This harm is increased if it's high levels are during children/teenagers development.
- We, athletes, should trust more in the doctors recommendations, once the biggest obstacle to the success of the screenings and therapies are the will of parents, athletes and a whole system of people who depend on the athlete's success.
Tomorrow after my interval trainings there will be the last session about knee lesions in the teenager athlete. Can't wait for it! =)