In a study from 2015 of players in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, researchers showed that risks varied by sport and gender. Male Division I basketball players faced up to 10 times the risk of sudden cardiac death compared to all NCAA athletes. Male athletes faced a higher risk than women, and black men faced a higher risk than men in general, the study found.
“People who maintain good amounts of exercise throughout their lives end up with a lower risk of having these sudden events,” said Dr. Meagan Wasfy, a sports cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who published one review of the study. “But in the small period where you train, the risk increases.”
Coronavirus pandemic: important things to know
A list circulating about the claim included 543 unconfirmed reports of athletes around the world who have died or faced “serious problems” since 2021. It was published by the anti-vaccine website Good Sciencing.
The list was based on a mix of news reports and posts about the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, which relies on self-reported cases from patients and physicians. Most news items did not mention whether the deceased had been vaccinated. Health officials warn against use VAERS to make decisions about vaccine risks.
There is a known and uncommon vaccine side effect, called myocarditis, which involves an inflammation of the heart muscle. Men and boys receiving the Covid-19 vaccine are at greater risk of developing the condition, which can lead to chest pain and shortness of breath. In very rare cases, it can lead to more serious complications, including death.
Doctors say the risk of developing myocarditis after being vaccinated seems low and that most people affected by the condition recover quickly. A study found that boys and young men infected with Covid-19 are up to six times more likely to develop myocarditis than people who received the vaccine.
From 20 January VAERS had received 2,132 preliminary reports of myocarditis or pericarditis (an inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) among vaccinated individuals 30 or younger, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 48 million people aged 5 to 24 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Healthcare providers are required to report any death after vaccination, even if there is no evidence that the vaccine has caused it. VAERS has received 11,657 reports of someone dying at some point after receiving the vaccine, representing 0.002 percent of all vaccinated.