Sudden Cardiac Death Was A Big Issue In Athletes Before The Pandemic – Is It Bigger Now?

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People all over the internet are pointing out that every single sudden death or cardiac issue, especially among athletes, is due to COVID vaccination. As a result, I thought it was important to point out that sudden cardiac death was quite prominent in young competitive athletes prior to the rollout of COVID inoculations.

That being said, the rates we’ve seen over the pandemic do not compare to data prior to the pandemic. There has been an unprecedented and exponential increase, and this is a concern.

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This likely means that some, not all, of these deaths are the result of something that changed over the last two years. We will get to this later but first, let’s acknowledge the need to think critically here and not jump to conclusions.

These types of sentiments spread when Danish soccer player Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 match. He survived as a result of fast and expertly-delivered CPR along with the use of an on-site defibrillator. Thankfully, Eriksen recovered. The internet began speculating that the COVID vaccine was to blame. The team, himself and the league claimed he had not been vaccinated, but this note did not make it into the conversation. And still many use his collapse to prove vaccine induced heart failure.

That said, it’s clear that sudden cardiac death among athletes has always been a problem well before COVID, as shown by this seminal paper published in the the journal Circulation in February 2009. The paper points out that, at the time, sudden cardiac deaths among athletes was becoming a concerning and controversial issue due to the frequency of events that were being recorded.

So the issue is nothing new, as the paper outlines,

 “Sudden deaths in young competitive athletes are highly visible events with substantial impact on the physician and lay communities. However, the magnitude of this public health issue has become a source of controversy.

The paper points out that, at the time, the highest number of recorded events in a single year was between 2005 and 2006, with 76 deaths occurring. The most common cardiovascular events were hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and congenital coronary artery anomalies. How would these 76 deaths look and be perceived if this was when the COVID pandemic was occurring with the inoculations simultaneously rolling out?

The paper used data from the US National Registry of Sudden Death in Athletes (1980-2011). The registry was instituted at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation for the purpose of assembling data on sudden deaths in young athletes. Over a 27-year period (1980 to 2006), 1,866 such sudden deaths (and survivors of cardiac arrest) were tabulated. It’s safe to assume that not all sudden deaths that occurred were actually recorded in this registry, so there may have been more.

The data above correlates with other research quite closely. For example, the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland, studied documents from international data banks from 1966 to 2004. Those documents indicate 1,101 sudden deaths in athletes under 35 years of age, an average of 29 athletes per year, the sports with the highest incidence being soccer and basketball.

The next question to ask is, have these types of deaths actually increased during the pandemic and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines?

Seeing An Increase

Evidence exists to suggest that yes, there has been an unprecedented and exponential increase in sudden cardiac deaths among athletes. It seems that more than 1,043 current and former athletes, including many children, have died suddenly due to cardiac issues during competitive sport since the beginning of 2021.

This would mean more deaths in the past couple of years compared to the numbers above, which were calculated after multiple decades. Again, just to add context, there were 1,866 sudden deaths among athletes in a 27-year period from 1980 to 2006.

Some examples include Alfredo Quintana, a Cuban handball goalie in Portugal who collapsed after going into cardiac arrest during practice. He died four days later.

Dale Best 34, a Maroochydore Swans Rugby League player collapsed during a match. Sports trainers performed CPR then paramedics attempted to stabilise the player. He was taken to hospital, where he later died. 

Devaraj Anchan 33, a State-level volleyball player collapsed, clutching his chest, while playing in a tournament and died on the way to a hospital in Udupi.

Ernesto Ramirez Jr: 16-Year-Old Boy collapsed while playing basketball, and died with a double-size enlarged heart 5 days after his first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

I think my point is quite clear here. The examples (of deaths) go on and on.

As mentioned, there are at least 1,043 examples from January 2021 up until now that are not hard to find, you can view them all with the correlating news story links here. The data was compiled by “goodsciencing.com.” This site is run by an anonymous group of investigators, journalists and truth seekers. It doesn’t seem very credible when it’s put that way, but all of the data they have accumulated on their site with regards to this issue is indeed backed up by a news source confirming the deaths in most cases. So, the examples used are legitimate, and it’s not hard to look them up for yourself.

This data was also used in a letter to the editor recently published in Scandinavian Journal of Immunology.

That being said. Some of the deaths are not in young and current athletes, but retired elderly ones. Furthermore, some of the deaths have been attributed to other causes. Based on my look through of the list, the majority seem to be cardiac related. But this makes the statement that all of them were young healthy athletes who suffered a cardiac event a bit misleading, the 1100 number not completely true.

Furthermore, adding to the confusion are multiple media outlets around the world claiming to document such events. For example, in November 2021, a German news agency compiled a list of 75 European athletes who died “suddenly” since being fully vaccinated.

What caused these deaths can only be determined through autopsy. It’s fair to assume that some of these deaths can be linked to COVID vaccinations. 

We know this because autopsies of 25 people who died within days of COVID vaccination revealed that 5 were a result of the vaccine. This means that COVID vaccines can indeed cause death. The other 20 deaths could not be linked COVID vaccination in that investigation, even though they had been vaccinated. So what caused their sudden death? We don’t know. But the takeaway here is the COVID vaccines can cause sudden death, and that sudden deaths in vaccinated people can also happen for other reasons.

We also know that COVID-19 has the potential to cause heart damage and sudden death as well. 

paper from 2020 revealed data from Italy around this very question.

Data from Italy suggests a significant positive association with spread of COVID-19 and an increase number of out of hospital cardiac arrests. (OHCA.) There is 58% rise in OHCA as compared to the previous year’s.14,15 A total of 103 patients out of 362 who had OHCA arrest were suspected or confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19 and were responsible for 77.4% of increase in cases of OHCA.14 A two-fold rise in OHCA has also been noticed concurrent with COVID-19 pandemic in the registry data from Paris.16 Although OHCA may be partly related to direct COVID-19 deaths, indirect effects like lockdown, behaviour changes, and health system issues may also be contributing.

On the flip side, an analysis of relative myocarditis risk by Oxford researchers who published a paper in Nature Medicine on December 14th. The authors find higher rates of vaccine-induced myocarditis than myocarditis from infection in males ages 16 – 39 across multiple vaccine doses: Pfizer dose 2 & 3 and Moderna dose 1 & 2.

If the researchers used more accurate seroprevalence data for viral infection (which would increase the denominator) and analyzed the risk in younger males ages 16-24 specifically (the highest risk group), the risk-benefit ratio would swing further against the administration of the aforementioned vaccine doses in this population.

Then there were other signals throughout the pandemic. For example, in April 2022 a study published in the Journal Nature under Scientific Reports titled “Increased emergency cardiovascular events among under-40 population in Israel during vaccine rollout and third COVID-19 wave” was one of many to raise safety concerns about COVID-19 vaccines.

The point is, there is research at both ends of the spectrum. The quality of the research, methods used etc are the next step when one begins to analyze deeply. 

We Can’t Ignore These Cases

Mainstream media often ridicules the idea that these events could be connected to COVID-19 injections, while many independent “alternative” outlines do the exact same thing, ridiculing the idea that they are not connected. Critical thinking, balance, and investigation, it seems, has been thrown on the window.

Vaccine injury surveillance systems around the world have recorded a record number of serious adverse reactions. An international group of eminent academics and physicians who went back and analyzed safety data from the original clinical trials that were the backbone of the FDA’s decision to authorize the mRNA vaccines in December 2020. It was published in the peer-reviewed journalVaccine in September 2022.

The analysis showed that mRNA vaccines were associated with 1 additional serious adverse event for every 800 people vaccinated. This would normally have a vaccine taken off the market, and is in sharp contrast to the idea that serious adverse events are extremely rare as federal health regulatory agencies have commonly claimed with regards to COVID-19 vaccines. 

“It was very unfortunate, that from the beginning, what was presented to us by public health officials was a picture of great certainty…but the reality was that there were extremely important unknowns. We entered a situation where essentially the stakes became too high to later present that uncertainty to people…I think that’s what set us off on the wrong foot. Public officials should have been a lot more forthright about the gaps in our knowledge.”

Dr. Peter Doshi, Senior Editor at the British Medical Journal

The authors also found that the trial data showed that the increase in serious adverse events following mRNA vaccination surpassed the reduction in risk of ending up hospitalized with COVID.

As you can see, there are concerns and mechanisms of action from vaccination that raise a red flag. Sure, there are various concerns with COVID, long COVID and the complications it can cause, and this discussion has been thoroughly had within the mainstream, but why isn’t the same rigor applied to implicating COVID vaccinations?

In summary we can’t rule out the possibility that some of the deaths and concerning cardiac events in these athletes are vaccine related. We also can’t rule out previous COVID infection, as well as unrelated causes.

It doesn’t help to ridicule the idea that COVID vaccinations could be the cause, and it also doesn’t help to ridicule the idea that COVID vaccinations may not be the cause. Both are valid statements that require further investigation. 

For further reading and related discussions, I urge you to read some of our recently published articles on the topic that you may be interested in.

 How To Think Critically About The Film “Died Suddenly

Autopsy Results From People Who Died Unexpectedly Within Days of COVID-19 Vaccination

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