Sport and Heart Attack

The sad news is coming from the world of football. The Algerian League second division footballer from Algerian, Sofiane Loukar, reportedly died while playing. Sofiane Loukar, who is known to be a player for the Mouloudia Saida team, clashed with his goalkeeper during the Algerian 2nd division match against ASM Oran on Saturday local time.

The chronology

On Saturday 25/12/21, Sofiane Loukar, the second division of the Algerian league from the team Mouloudia Saida, played against the club, ASM Oran. During the match, Sofiane accidentally collided with his goalkeeper. After the impact, Sofiane Loukar lay on the field and received treatment from the medical team. Sofiane Loukar returned to play after receiving treatment but then collapsed after playing for approximately 10 minutes. According to the APS report, Sofiane was rushed to the hospital immediately but died on the way from a heart attack.

Not the first time

The case that happened to Sofiane is actually not the first time. In 2012, another footballer, Fabrice Muamba, collapsed on the pitch, and his heart stopped beating for 78 minutes. Marc-Vivien Foe died while playing for the Cameroon national team at 28. Then former England defender Ugo Ehiogu died in 2017 at 44.

“Extreme sports put athletes at increased risk because their activity puts pressure on the heart to work harder – and that is likely to trigger more problems,” said Dr. Zafar Iqbal, head of sports medicine at Crystal Palace Football Club. “But this is a very rare incident,” he added.

Heart attack in athletes

Based on a report by Owen Anderson in his article entitled “Heart Attack Risks Are Greater for Athletes Who Compete In Endurance Sports”, the probability of a footballer developing heart disease is the same as that of an endurance sports athlete).

In his writings, Owen mentions 1 in 50,000 endurance sports athletes (such as cycling, marathon, triathlon, and others) are at high risk of having a heart attack. This discovery was obtained after examining the content of the cardiac troponin I enzyme in 38 cyclists who participated in the Tyrolean Otztaler Radmarathon competition in 1999.

Cardiac troponin is an enzyme that is commonly contained in high amounts in the blood of a person who is detected as having a heart attack. The study showed that cardiac troponin I level increased in 13 cyclists (34%) after participating in the competition. Factors that trigger it include:

  • Age (the younger, the “worse”).
  • The record time (the faster, the higher the risk).
  • The distance traveled during exercise.
  • Doing exercise
  • Competition with high volume is one of the causes of myocardial damage.

According to Owen, this also applies to soccer athletes. Professional footballers average a total of 9-12 km per game. Not to mention the many activities in the field, call it sprints. When calculated, footballers can sprint as far as 2.1 km. This, of course, takes a lot of energy. “Football is like any other sport. This sport requires high mobility. It makes the players expend more energy,” said Owen, reported by Sportinglife.

Based on these data, soccer players have an equally high risk of having a heart attack. In fact, professional footballers may even have an even higher risk. This is due to the training intensity and the matches he plays being much higher. Professional players generally play once a week.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone and at any time – not just footballers. Therefore, a schedule for checking heart health should be done regularly.

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