The first known case of sudden death during a sporting event mentioned in historical records dates back to 490 BC, when a Greek soldier named ran from the city of Marathon to Athens (approximately 42 kilometres) to deliver the news of a victory over Persia. Having reached his destination, he collapsed and died. It is indeed during physical exertion or after it stops that sudden death occurs, so physical exertion is considered to be a factor which contributes to sudden death.


We keep reading in newspapers or hearing on radio or TV that another ultimately tragic incident in sports, sudden death, has occurred again. It can happen to the young and the old, to a professional athlete or a fitness athlete. Fortunately, it is also a very rear occasion.


Men are five times more likely to face the risk of sudden death than women. The probability for those aged 35 and under is 1: 100,000; and for those aged over 35 it is 6: 100,000. Studies show that sudden death rate in sports in the US is 50—100 people per year.


The article on the topic by SEM doctor Gunnar Männik in Postimees is available here.