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Anthony Rossi, Tina Claiborne and Jamie Fetter

A 19-year-old male collegiate wrestler was diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve disease and aortic insufficiency due to the presence of an aortic-ventricular tunnel. The athlete underwent an electrocardiogram, transthoracic echocardiogram, transesophageal echocardiogram, as well as a diagnostic ultrasound of his carotid arteries and abdominal aorta in order to diagnose this underlying structural abnormality. This diagnosis resulted in the athlete being disqualified for the remainder of the wrestling season and undergoing open-heart surgery to repair his bicuspid aortic valve. This case study will explain the events surrounding the recognition of this disease as well as advocate for the use of cardiac screening in preparticipation exams (PPEs). It is imperative that we implement more advanced diagnostic testing in the PPEs of young athletes in order to diagnose underlying structural heart abnormalities that may lead to sudden cardiac death.

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Anthony M. Rossi, Casey L. Donovan and Meg A. Sharp

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Anthony Rossi, Tina Claiborne and Jamie Fetter

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is the leading cause of sudden death in young athletes. It has been estimated that SCD occurs three times more often in athletes than in nonathletes and is defined as a sudden unexpected death due to a previously undiagnosed cardiac structural abnormality. The precise incidence of SCD is unclear, but various studies have estimated that 2–3% of the general population have some cardiovascular anomaly and that the SCD rate in athletes ranges from 1:50,000 to 1:200,000 athletes per year. According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) position statement on preventing sudden death, a report from the National Collegiate Athletic Association stated that the SCD rate in student-athletes is slightly higher, at 1:43,000 per year.