Cause of death revealed for Pinson HS athlete that collapsed at school, medical expert says it’s common among athletes
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is something people may live with for awhile without experiencing any symptoms, but it can unfortunately be deadly.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Coroner has revealed to FOX6 the official cause of death for Caleb White, a Pinson High School athlete who collapsed at school and later died in August.
The coroner says White died of natural causes stemming from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, also abbreviated as HCM, a heart condition.
HCM is something people may live with for awhile without experiencing any symptoms, but it can unfortunately be deadly. According to UAB, about 1 in 300 people have it, but it typically doesn’t cause any issues, however vigorous exercise can cause problems, leading to cardiac arrest.
Dr. Irfan Asif is chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at UAB. He says it’s one of the more common causes of cardiac arrest in athletes, responsible for about 25-30% of them.
While it’s generally asymptomatic, HCM can cause heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and chest pains according to Dr. Asif.
Genetics do come into play, but if a person is asymptomatic, Dr. Asif says HCM may not be detected during an athletic examination.
Dr. Asif says there is no screening method that is 100% effective in detecting HCM, and advises every athletic venue to have an emergency action plan in place in case of any cardiac-related event.
“In every athletic venue you have an emergency practice plan, and that emergency practice plan is practiced at least annually, that it’s coordinated with local EMS, and your goals are to have an AED or an automated external defibrillator on the site that you could get to someone within 3-5 minutes of a collapse,” Dr. Asif told FOX6.
Dr. Asif says sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for athletes, and that having an AED plan in place tremendously increases the chances of survival.
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