Sudden Death in Athletes


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Expiration Date

28 Feb 2026

Last Reviewed

1 Mar 2023

Estimated Time To Finish

60 Minutes

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Activity Description

Sudden death in athletes has been a tragic occurrence in the fields of sports medicine, cardiology, primary care, and pediatrics. By far, the most common cause of unexpected death for a younger athlete on the competitive field is cardiac illness, usually that of congenital etiology. However, the use of anabolic steroids, peptide hormones, and stimulants has led to the emergence of acquired heart disease in younger and middle-aged athletes. In contrast, sudden death in an older athlete is typically due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. This activity describes the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of structural and nonstructural causes of sudden cardiac death in athletes and stresses the role of team-based interprofessional care for affected patients.

Target Audience

This activity has been designed to meet the educational needs of physicians.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the learner will be better able to:

  • Explain the onset of the cardiac problems that may precede sudden cardiac death.
  • Describe the sports clearance physical exam and what findings might prompt the consideration of a condition putting the individual at risk for sudden cardiac death.
  • Describe the management of the various cardiac etiologies that lead to sudden death in athletes.
  • Examine interprofessional team strategies for improving care coordination and communication to prevent missed opportunities to diagnose and treat patients at risk for sudden cardiac death.


StatPearls requires everyone who influences the content of an educational activity to disclose relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies that have occurred within the past 24 months. All relevant conflict(s) of interest have been mitigated. Hover over contributor names for financial disclosures. None of the planners of this educational activity have any relevant financial relationships to disclose.

COMMERCIAL SUPPORT: This activity has received NO commercial support.

Continuing Education Accreditation Information

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, and StatPearls, LLC. The Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University designates this activity for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity is reported to the following Maintenance of Certification (MOC) boards:
American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Internal Medicine
American Board of Pediatrics
  • General Pediatrics
  • Pediatric Cardiology

Instructions for Credit

  1. Register for the activity and create a StatPearls login.     
  2. Review the target audience, learning objectives, and disclosure information.
  3. Study the educational content in the activity.
  4. Choose the best answer to each activity test question. To receive credit, you must pass the test questions with a minimum score of 100%.
  5. Complete the post-activity assessment.
  6. Obtain a certificate.

For information on the applicability and acceptance of continuing education credit for this activity, please consult your professional licensing board.


Faculty may discuss investigational products or off-label uses of products regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration. Readers should verify all information before employing any therapies described in this educational activity.

The information provided for this activity is for continuing education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical/clinical judgment of a healthcare provider relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient’s medical condition. The information presented does not necessarily reflect the views of StatPearls or any commercial supporters of educational activities on StatPearls specifically disclaims responsibility for any adverse consequences resulting directly or indirectly from information in the course, for undetected error, or through a participant's misunderstanding of the content.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing and a money-back guarantee is provided if not completely satisfied.

  • StatPearlsand and Quillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University reserve the right to cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances. StatPearls andQuillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University will not be responsible for other expenses incurred by the participant in the unlikely event that the program is canceled.

Medium or Media Used:

  • Computer Requirements: Internet Access
  • E-mail Address

Equal Opportunity

  • StatPearls andQuillen College of Medicine, East Tennessee State University are Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Equal Access Institutions. 


Media Usage Rights

The contributors and editors of StatPearls have attested that all associated media (images and video) have been legally cleared for use with this activity.  All copyrights are reserved.


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    Good information.

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    I should take some advanced care classes.

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    Good course

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    Only thing was that I wasn't able to find anything for EMS. Although I did take away critical information from this training, I think it may have been a little geared to nursing and physician staff.

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    Request for more cne free topics

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    thank you

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    People practice sport to have better QoL, so they deserve good cares and attention to avoid sudden death.

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    Thank you.

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    very biased research on this topic, almost cherry picked to mold thinking.

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    Excellent Activity

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    Thank yoy

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    Excellent discussion of this topic

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    Currently retired

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    none, great

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