This past Sunday, Fiorentina captain Davide Astori passed in his sleep. This was a shock to the football world; how could someone in his late thirties pass in his sleep when he seemed previously healthy? It seemed impossible. Then the autopsy came in; cardiac arrest. In his thirties? What?
That should be a shock. Unfortunately, it is all too common in the world of sports, even if it was in his sleep. This needs to be further investigated and researched, so that people do not continue to die while simply playing the sport they love, or simply due to them being athletes.
Many athletes have died on the field, court, etc. due to a heart condition. Reggie Lewis died while playing an exhibition basketball game. Marc-Vivien Foe passed while playing for his nation of Cameroon. Patrick Ekeng died while on the field in Romania. Abdelhak Nouri did not pass, but suffered an arrhythmic episode on the field, and his brain is forever damaged. These are just many of the examples of this. The question is why, in the 1990s or in the 2000s, does this continue to happen? Why do the lives of various athletes have to end as a result of these disorders?
The short answer is because it is difficult to detect many of these disorders. Disorders related to the coronary artery are difficult to detect, and ECG/EEG tests cannot effectively determine the existence of a condition. Some of them are obvious to detect, such as potential for aortic rupture secondary to Marfan's syndrome (Isaiah Austin). Others cannot even be precisely determined after death. It is a situation filled with uncertainty.
Yet, we could still do better. More funding allocated for research into this should be a must, as this needs to be prevented as soon as it is possible. Furthermore, more screening, regardless of how effective, should be considered. Even if it could not be detected easily, the chances of discovering something would presumably increase. However, I'm not a physician; I don't know what would work best.
At the end of the day, lives will continue to be lost if we do not improve our screening techniques in regards to physiological defects of the heart. Lives that could (hopefully) be saved with more advanced techniques and treatment plans. Lives like Abdelhak Nouri, Patrick Ekeng, Dani Jarque, and Davide Astori could be saved.
It is only a matter of time, I hope.