Competitive Sport Athletes and Genetic Heart Diseases

Sep 30, 2020 | Katrina Sorensen, Research Coordinator | @katrinasorensen


Are you an athlete with a genetic heart condition that has been disqualified from sports? Do you have a child that loves playing sports, but was told they can no longer play due to their genetic heart disease? Know that there are options! After a full cardiac evaluation, careful consideration of all factors of playing competitive sports with a heart condition, and a meaningful and thorough discussion with their family and cardiologist, many athletes with genetic heart conditions are eventually cleared to play the sports that they love.

However, knowing the risks and deciding whether or not to play, or let your child play, sports can be frightening. Lots of factors need to be considered carefully, but there are plenty of resources to help you!

There are five important considerations athletes with genetic heart diseases, their families, and their physicians must consider before deciding to play competitive sports. These considerations are:

  1. One veto and you are out! - The family unit MUST be in complete agreement for the athlete to continue playing.
  2. The Two Os: Optional or Oxygen?
  3. No covert operations! - All appropriate coaches, trainers, officials, etc. must be aware of your condition so the proper safety procedures are understood and in place.
  4. The school, the league, or the institution may not be comfortable with a return-to-play (RTP)
  5. An AED (automatic external defibrillator) is a MUST!

For more information, check out these videos recorded by Dr. Ackerman:

Competitive Sports Athletes and Genetic Heart Diseases

Return to Play Considerations for Athletes with Genetic Heart Diseases

When in Doubt, Kick them Out? Long QT Syndrome Sports Guidelines

Meet other people talking about sports and genetic heart disorders on Mayo Clinic Connect. Join the Heart Rhythm Conditions group to join the conversation, share experiences, ask questions, and discover your support network.

For up-to-date information, please follow Dr. Ackerman and the Windland Smith Rice Genetic Heart Rhythm Clinic on Twitter by clicking the links below.


Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Genetic Heart Rhythm Diseases blog.

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