Why Are Athletes Experiencing Cardiac Arrest and Can We Prevent It? (with Jon Drezner, MD)

Your Doctor Friends

Why Are Athletes Experiencing Cardiac Arrest and Can We Prevent It? (with Jon Drezner, MD)

August 15, 2023

Why Are Athletes Experiencing Cardiac Arrest and Can We Prevent It? (with Jon Drezner, MD)

Does you feel like you’ve been seeing more and more stories about young athletes collapsing from sudden cardiac arrest?

Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills collapsed after a collision in sudden cardiac arrest last year during Monday Night Football. A few weeks ago, Bronny James, the son of LeBron James, suffered cardiac arrest at a USC basketball practice. 

Is there a trend we should be aware of? Is this new?

What’s the deal? Is cardiac arrest common? Can it be prevented?

What better way to find answers than to grab OUR DOCTOR FRIEND, maybe one that happens to be nationally recognized in the area of Sports Cardiology and screening for cardiac conditions in athletes, and ask him these great questions! 

Welcome, Jon Drezner, MD!

Dr. Jon Drezner is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of the UW Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology at the University of Washington.

  • He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine
  • He is Team Physician for the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), OL Reign (NWSL), and the University of Washington.
  • Dr. Drezner is past-President of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM, 2012-13) and has dedicated his career to the prevention of sudden cardiac arrest and death (SCA/D) in young athletes and the development of effective models for prevention.

This is a great episode, friends! Give it a listen and perhaps we can figure out how to STOP THE HEART-STOPPING!

Key highlights in this episode include:

Why do these elite athletes, the picture of peak performance, experience cardiac arrest?

How common is sudden cardiac arrest in athletes? Does the prevalence change when looking at different types of athletes/sports?

Who is at risk? How do we know?

Are there warning signs for sudden cardiac arrest? What are they?

Why do some people (like Bronny and Damar) have better outcomes than other people who suffer cardiac arrest?

How can we screen for conditions that can cause sudden cardiac arrest?

What about people out of high school and college age who are athletic, what are their risks of sudden cardiac arrest?

Dr. Drezner recommends the following resources to learn more about sudden cardiac arrest in athletes:

Parent Heart Watch website.

The American Heart Association website.

Take a lifesaving CPR class through the American Red Cross!

The University of Washington Center for Sports Cardiology E-Academy, learn about ECG interpretation in athletes!

You can find Dr. Drezner via his UWashington profile HERE, and on Twitter at @DreznerJon.


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(Disclaimer: we will not answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional with any and all personal health questions.)


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