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Protecting athletes from deadly blows.

Researchers are calling for improved chest protection to help make the athletic field safer for young participants from a wide variety of sporting activities--hockey, football, lacrosse, and baseball. New findings show that commercial gear may not adequately protect youth against sudden death caused by a blow to the chest.

Commotio cordis (a Latin phrase meaning "commotion of the heart") is the term for a blunt, nonpenetrating blow to the chest that occurs during a 20-millisecond window and triggers an irregular heartbeat called ventricular fibrillation. Collapse and sudden death follows unless a defibrillator shock is provided immediately.

Data collected since 1995 by the National Commotio Cordis Registry at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) show that 33 of 85 competitive athletes suffered fatal chest blow events despite wearing potentially protective equipment.

"Hopefully, these data will represent a stimulus for developing a truly effective chest barrier that will be absolutely protective against the risk of these commotio cordis catastrophes," said Dr. Barry J. Maron, senior author of the study and director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center at the MHIF.
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Title Annotation:Neighborhood Heart Watch
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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