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The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

The Campus Lantern

Cardiac arrest in young athletes creates urgent call for awareness and prevention

Rory Finn

Studies have shown that Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in athletes in high school and college; it has been a hot topic recently with the unfortunate suffering of Lebron James Jr., a student at USC, and the passing of high schooler Caleb White.

The difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack is simple: cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping and blood isn’t being circulated around their body which causes a person to stop breathing normally, whereas a heart attack is when one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked and the heart muscle is deprived of its vital blood supply. Suffering either one can be fatal to one’s life.

“There’s a concern that congenital heart disease is a cause,” said SCH Head Athletic Trainer Ms. Norma Jean Wingate. “I don’t think [these students] are modifying their activities. Everything is one sport and when you get pigeonholed in the one sport, you don’t change your cardiac output… that might be a concern.”

Henry, a student athlete, said, “I played football since 7th grade. We were given programs and conditioned everyday. We had the most work during August right before the season where we sometimes would condition twice a day … We did all types of conditioning, we ran, we lifted, we simulated games, and it took a toll on our bodies.”

When asked if Henry always felt conditioned to play a full season he simply said, “yes,” but went on to also say, “the coaches always looked out for us, if they didn’t feel we were in good enough shape they wouldn’t let us sniff the field.”

There are also many conspiracies circulating about the impacts smoking, vaping and drinking caffeine and alcohol have on athletes suffering a cardiac arrest. “Smoking will of course affect your lungs. If your lung output is not well, then your heart cannot function properly as well” Ms. Norma stated.

When Henry was asked if he smokes and if it affects his cardiovascular health he said, “Yes I vape, but I don’t feel as though it has affected my cardiovascular health, I’ve been doing both for a long time but never felt vaping hurt my performance.”

There are many circumstances that can lead to a cardiac arrest. There are also a lot of things that can be done to help prevent one. The heart is a complex and very important muscle that is vital to everyone’s life and it’s important to make sure it is healthy.

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About the Contributor
Rory Finn, Staff Writer
Rory is currently a senior at SCH and is a rookie journalist. He is a student-athlete who, outside of school, spends most of his time playing baseball. But you can also catch him swimming, fishing, or playing football with his friends and family.
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