Reducing the risk of S.A.D.S

Updated: March 21, 2012

The sudden collapse of Bolton’s Fabrice Muamba during the Spurs v Bolton FA Cup tie last Saturday raises once again the subject of how best sports stars can protect themselves and help reduce the risk, especially when there are no signs of any previous heart related issues.

As we have seen so tragically in recent years there have been a number of similar cases involving young Irish sports stars, usually in the 16 – 35, age group, sometimes even younger.

One of the organisations in Ireland who can assist, all sporting bodies, amateur as well as professional is, Heartaid Ireland whose Director, Ed Donovan told SportsNewsIreland:

“Every week in Ireland, 2 apparently fit and healthy young people, under the age of 35, die from undiagnosed cardiac conditions. 80% of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms.

“One in every 300 of the young people that Heartaid tests could be identified with a potentially life threatening condition. Although screening will not identify all young people at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, they have reduced the incidence of young sudden cardiac death by 90%.

“This is because sport can significantly increase a person’s risk if they have an underlying condition.

“Heartaid’s cardiac screening programme is overseen by its Medical Director, Managing Director & Consultant Cardiologist. Heartaid’s service is aimed at reducing the incidents of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in Ireland. The more people that get tested and the increased awareness will help reduce the number of people dying at an untimely stage in their young lives.

“Heartaid wants all young people and those responsible for young people to be aware of the importance of cardiac screening and to have the opportunity to be tested”

Some Important facts:

The Italian experience has shown that cardiac screening has efficacy in preventing sudden cardiac death in athletes.
Approx. 100 young persons under 35 years die in Ireland from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) every year.
Sudden Adult Death Syndrome can happen anywhere, anytime.
Heart Conditions also affect young children, teenagers & young adults.
It can occur in active, apparently healthy people.
It happens in all age groups, adults & children.
It can happen to a person who has never had any symptoms of heart disease.
Most of the conditions that cause sudden cardiac death can be treated.

Mobile Cardiac Screening can play a huge role in aiding early detection of problems and issues.

For more information on Heartaid’s national screening programme, please visit

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