Three cheers to Sports Illustrated and writer David Epstein for a detailed piece in the current issue with Sportsman of the Year Brett Favre on the cover that details a growing concern among parents and coaches about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
The congenital cardiovascular abnormality causes the walls of the left ventricle of the heart to enlarge, inhibiting the flow of blood to the heart. According to the SI piece, HCM affects an estimated 600,000 Americans, and causes more than 6,000 deaths per year. Young, seemingly healthy athletes who have HCM are at particular risk, because the ailment does not present itself in a normal pre-sport physical, but can be detected usually only with an electrocardiogram and a follow-up echocardiogram.
For me, the story brought back reminders of Megan Finn, an Overlea field hockey player, who collapsed during a practice in September, 2004, and was subsequently diagnosed with HCM. She was saved when her coach, Jenna Zava, performed CPR on the field.