The commonest causes of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young people (under 35) are undiagnosed inherited heart abnormalities such as cardiomyopathy, anatomical anomalies of the coronary arteries and electrical disorders of the heart.
Heart screening using simple tests aims to identify the majority of heart abnormalities most likely to affect young people.
In individuals with these heart abnormalities the first symptom may be death.
Whilst SCD in these conditions can occur at rest, sporting activity can aggravate an underlying undetected heart abnormality leading to a cardiac arrest.
Therefore, if an individual that plays sport has an undiagnosed condition capable of causing SCD, such as a cardiomyopathy, then that individual is more likely to die during sport.