The Straits Times
Published on Nov 14, 2012

Health risks in certain sports


LAST Friday's article ("Even proper training may not be able to prevent sudden cardiac death: Doctors") quoted doctors as saying that even proper training may not be able to prevent sudden cardiac deaths during marathons.

Medical assessments before participation are advised, and should be comprehensive as a normal screening may not pick up underlying medical problems.

Also, it may be helpful to note that a medical study involving 26 runners in a United States marathon revealed that long-distance running raises the risk of pulmonary oedema.

Pulmonary oedema is associated with signs of breathlessness, severe coughing and heart attack, or respiratory failure in severe cases.

Results showed that half of the runners had some level of pulmonary oedema 20 minutes after the race, and 20 per cent developed moderate to severe pulmonary oedema.

The study concluded that pulmonary oedema can be a negative consequence of marathon running.

The article ("Boxer fights for life after collapsing before debut"; last Friday) articulates a long-drawn-out controversy about whether boxing is a safe sport.

Several boxers have died in the ring, and quite a few suffered brain injuries.

Even Muhammad Ali, widely regarded as the greatest boxer, is thought to have severe Parkinson's disease as a result of past injuries.

We must bear in mind the inherent risks in such sports.

Quek Koh Choon (Dr)