Medical study finds rugby players are prone to enlarged hearts
BRENT READ SENIOR SPORTS WRITER 11:00PM NOVEMBER 11, 2014
A TWO-YEAR study stemming from former rugby league star Phil Blake’s brush with death has revealed that athletes from the two rugby codes are prone to enlarged hearts. Blake, a rugby league sensation as a player before switching codes and becoming a rugby union coach, was lucky to escape death four years ago when an angiogram revealed he had blockages in his heart. He subsequently underwent triple bypass surgery.
Significantly, Blake’s heart issues prompted some of the country’s most respected medical minds to begin a study into whether his problems were an anomaly or symptomatic of a wider problem across the rugby codes. The stunning results of that research were unveiled at a medical conference on the Gold Coast yesterday. The vast majority of athletes from rugby union and rugby league who took part in the study — more than 150 current and former players were involved — were diagnosed with enlarged aortas. While in most cases the problem was not life-threatening, some players may eventually require surgery to ensure they are safe from heart attack.
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