Another unfortnate reason for sports to work together

The news from Monday night’s game regarding Damar Hamlin has no doubt shocked all of the footballing world.  As we said on Twitter, first and foremost is that our thoughts go out to him, his family and friends and team mates.  Thankfully, some of the best medics in the world were, and always are, on the sidelines and Hamlin was able to receive life saving treatment immediately.  

For those of you who are soccer fans, this type of incident is all too familiar following the 2020 Euros where Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during the Danes game against Finland.  UEFA ludicrously ordered the game to go on after that occurrence, the NFL and coaching staff from the Bills and Bengals rightfully decided to postpone Monday night’s game.  Sometimes there’s more important stuff than football.

I wrote previously that sports need to come together to tackle the issue of concussions.  But following last night’s incident, should that be extended to cardiac issues as well?  Hamlin and Eriksen are not alone, a quick check on Wikipedia (as reliable as it is or isn’t I admit) shows that there are a lot of cases of ‘sudden cardiac arrest’ in athletes dating from a marathon runner in 490 BC right through to last night.  And across many sports – cycling, ice hockey, baseball, ice skating to name but a few.  They’re just the known cases and also the most serious ones – we don’t know what happens at lower levels or to those who maybe suffer milder symptoms which could go unnoticed.  Like concussions, there’s limited information on longer term effects of sudden cardiac arrest on top level athletes.  

So once again it’s time to call for the barriers of sporting institutes and authorities to be lowered.  Put commercial interests aside and deal with a problem as a collective, using the billions of dollars that are available which will ultimately benefit those who compete as well as maybe one day the general public that can benefit from the billions upon billions of dollars that top level sports get but medical research could only dream about.

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