Study: Collegiate football players may be at risk of heart ailments based on race, position, more

With the kickoff of this year’s college football season, new research suggests that some college football players may be at risk of developing heart-related complications, based on race, the position they play, their weight and blood pressure.

Led by Emory University researchers and other colleagues, the findings of the study were recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The specific heart-related complication, called concentric left ventricular hypertrophy or C-LVH, involves enlargement and thickening of the walls of the heart’s main pumping chamber, the left ventricle. With this condition, in the general population, there is increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.

In this research study, 300 college football players from two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-I football programs were recruited and studied between 2014 and 2019.

Researchers reviewed clinical data including body weight and blood pressure, echocardiography (images of the heart) and vascular measurements at multiple timepoints throughout the study period. Demographics and family income were also analyzed.

“We found that both self-identified Black and white football linemen -- which include players at the tackle, guard, center or defensive end positions -- similarly developed concentric left ventricular hypertrophy,” says Jonathan Kim, MD, associate professor of medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine and chief of sports cardiology for Emory Healthcare.

>>Listen to 95.5 WSB Anchor Sabrina Cupit’s on-air report below.

Sabrina Cupit

Sabrina Cupit

Midday News Anchor and Health Reporter

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