Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Sudden Loss of a Professional Athlete

   Just a few days following the sudden cardiac death of a little leaguer in the US, professional athlete Piermario Morosini, age 25,  has also died.   According to BBC news, the mid-fielder was playing for Livorno in the Series B Match, and has been playing for thirty-one minutes, when he collapsed and fell to the ground.  A defibrillator was present and was used.   He was transported while receiving CPR to Pescara's Santo Spirito Hospital, where he could not be revived.   This is felt to be a sudden arrhythmic death rather than a heart attack, due to the superb physical condition of the individual and also due to the characteristics of this sudden death, including it's resistance to resuscitation.  An autopsy has not yet been completed.   Piermario developed his strength of character through a lot of adversity in his short life.  His mother Camilla died when he was fifteen.  His father Aldo, died only two years afterward. his brother who was disabled, died.   His only remaining close relative, is an older sister who is disabled, and his elderly aunt.  Please join me in praying for both of them today.  Piermario's teammates say that his regular physicals were always clean, and that they will always remember him as a gentle man, with a sad face.

Morosini received excellent immediate help.

       Last month, another player, Bolton's Fabrice Muamba (who plays for England) was in cardiac arrest for 78 minutes after collapsing during a game.  This 24 year old player is still alive, and is improving following his own episode of "sudden cardiac death".     Italy is one of the few countries which is acutely aware of sudden cardiac arrhythmic death in both players and in students who play sports at school.   Italy has mandatory cardiac screening for all children who play sports, and this often includes an EKG.  An EKG will not detect or rule out every child who has a potential for a fatal arrhythmic disorder, but it will detect some of them, and they will receive treatment.   Here in the US, we have no organized broad requirements for EKGs in young children who play sports or who attain a particular age.   Also according to BBC, the Charity "Cardiac Risk in the Young" feels they have reduced the incidence of sudden arrhythmic death in young people by 90% in Italy.   In the US, we have not yet begun to screen anyone other than the siblings of children who are already lost to this disorder.

        There is tape of Morosini's sudden death, and it is sobering. It reminds me so well of Daniel's passing.  One moment he was well and speaking, and the next moment, he was simply gone and facing down on his face. He has been without complaint, without discomfort, without any indication that anything was wrong.

        We send our condolences to the family of Piermario Morosino.

Update:   Italy grieves the loss of not only a fantastic footballer today, but also someone said to be a fine person.  Italy has postponed all football for a period of time.  An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.   Like so many young victims of sudden cardiac death, he did not regain consciousness despite diligent and continuous medical care which continued for more than an hour and a half afterward.  Piermario Morosino joins a number of European footballers who have died of sudden cardiac arrest during a game.

Update #2:  Football club Livorno, as a remembrance of Piermario Morosini is structuring a lifetime annuity for Piermario's disabled sister.  They also plan to retire his #25 shirt.

I have enclosed this brief video of Piermario's collapse for several reasons. First, I would like everyone to understand that he was attended to, quite quickly. Secondly, I would like the parents of young boys who have died of sudden cardiac death to understand how rapid this process can be, and that their child appears not to have suffered over time.  Many times, they appear to "switch off and fall forward".

Piermario Morosino in 2007 on a collectable sports card.

Morosino, when Italy played Germany in Sweden for Euro21 Championships.


  1. oh............. so sad i cant imagine this

  2. Deaths from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome where an otherwise health person collapses and dies despite fairly quick professional intervention are not as rare as was once thought. I did not know about this syndrome until our own 12 year old died as a result of it. One minute he was fine, laughing and planning his day, and the next moment he was gone. CPR and a helicopter ambulance made no difference.


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