18th October 2018


British Athletics and Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) joined forces for the first of two free heart screenings for World Class Performance and Pathway athletes in Lee Valley.

Nearly 30 athletes from across the WCP, Performance Pathway and Futures Programme, attended the session in London, including European and World Para Athletics European medallists Adam Gemili, Matt Hudson-Smith and Vanessa Wallace.

Each week in the UK, at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions.

Most cardiac abnormalities can be detected with a simple electrocardiogram (ECG) test. For extra clarity an Echocardiogram (ultrasound scan) is sometimes also be done.

British Athletics’ Chief Medical Officer, Noel Pollock, praised CRY for their support in making the day a success and encouraged athletes on the performance pathways to get themselves tested at the second screening day in December.

“We’d like to extend our thanks to the tremendous professionals from CRY UK for their support in cardiac screening our elite track and field athletes in Lee Valley today. I’d encourage all athletes to get in touch with CRY to arrange this simple heart screening test at one of their open sessions.

“We look forward to welcoming CRY back to our National Performance Institute in Loughborough in December for further testing in this important area to support athlete health.”

Sprinter Adam Gemili, who was first to take the tests, said: “It was massively important to come here and get it done. I think too many young people are having problems with their heart and finding out too late, so it was really important to me to get it done.

“There’s no reason why any athlete shouldn’t be considering doing this. Definitely get it done because your health is the most important thing in any athlete’s career.

“Events like this show that British Athletics are working hard to make sure all of their athletes are healthy and that if there are any problems, they’ll get them sorted.”

Dr Bode Ensam, who was interpreting the results, added: “A number of conditions for the heart can affect high level and elite athletes, some of which can be inherited and can put them at risk of having a serious heart problem.

“These conditions can be picked up quite regularly by an ECG which maps the regular rhythm of the heart. Sometimes in athletes the changes are quite normal, but they can mimic disease.

“The work Cardiac Risk in the Young have done has demonstrated that these conditions can be regularly picked up with the ECG, even if there are no symptoms.”

The second screening for WCP and Performance Pathway athletes will take place in Loughborough in December, with a date to be confirmed soon. For more information, email sthorsen@britishathletics.org.uk and for more information on CRY screening, click here.