Answers to Athletes and Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Premier Health providers and athletic trainers answer frequently asked questions about sudden cardiac arrest.

Is commotio cordis preventable?

Dr. Jeffrey Rayborn discusses why commotio cordis is not preventable in high school and college athletics. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.


Commotio cordis has no underlying factors that predispose someone from having it. So, in general, no, it's not preventable. This typically happens during a sporting activity. From a ball, or sometimes a fist. Or in mixed martial arts, it could be a kick to the chest. There is some evidence that chest protection may help. That's somewhat controversial. There's evidence suggesting that softer baseballs and softballs, with a softer core for youth sports, may help prevent this. But in general, it's not a preventable occurrence. There are steps that can be taken to help decrease the risk of death when a person experiences such a trauma.

    Chelsea L. Gilliam, APRN-CNP, AGACNP-BC

    Piqua Family Practice

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    Source: Michael W. Barrow, MD, Samaritan North Family Physicians; American Heart Association; National Institutes of Health; Nik Berger, MS, AT, ATC, Premier Health Sports Medicine – Miami Valley Hospital South; Jeffrey James, DO, Premier Orthopedics; Sean Convery, MD, Premier Orthopedics; Jeffrey Rayborn, MD, Premier Orthopedics