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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS

A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology


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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 Sep 29

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07776-3

Copyright © 2017 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Blunt thoracic trauma and cardiac injury in the athlete: contemporary management

Cesare DE GREGORIO 1 , Ludovico MAGAUDDA 2

1 Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, Scuola di Specializzazione in Cardiologia e in Medicina dello Sport, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria di Messina, Messina, Italy; 2 Department of Biomorphology and Functional Imaging, Post-Graduate Medical School on Sports Medicine, Università degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italy


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INTRODUCTION: Commotion cordis and cardiac injuries are rare events usually following a chest blunt trauma during sports activities.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION AND SYNTHESIS: Various aetiologies have been identified to cause electrical (commotion cordis) and/or structural (contusion and further injuries) damage, but high-velocity tools such as baseballs or hockey pucks (also called projectiles) have been chiefly identified. Clinical consequences are challenging, varying from uncomplicated supraventricular arrhythmias to cardiac wall rupture. Ventricular fibrillation is the most remarkable outcome leading to cardiac arrest in some individuals. In this article, up-to-date epidemiological and pathophysiological issues are discussed, along with the most suitable assistance protocols of the injured athlete in the sports arena.
CONCLUSIONS: Current knowledge about traumatic sports injuries and ensuing cardiovascular sequelae made significant steps forwards than in the past. The majority of athletes (especially the youngest ones) wearing chest protectors are usually preserved from serious outcomes and sudden cardiac death, but further technical effort is encouraged to attain more satisfactory barriers against projectile’s impact. Educational campaigns among students, closer team surveillance, implementation of the sports arenas with adequate rescue devices and medical assistance remain mandatory in every sports activity.


KEY WORDS: Athlete’s injury - Cardiac contusion - Commotio cordis - Prognosis - Sports activities

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Publication History

Article first published online: September 29, 2017
Manuscript accepted: September 25, 2017
Manuscript revised: September 19, 2017
Manuscript received: May 12, 2017

Cite this article as

De Gregorio C, Magaudda L. Blunt thoracic trauma and cardiac injury in the athlete: contemporary management. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 2017 Sep 29. DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07776-3

Corresponding author e-mail

cdegregorio@unime.it