Monday, October 03, 2011

On badminton and death

I recently learnt a new fact: Playing badminton can kill you

Apparently it's a well known fact in the badminton community that the sport has a relatively high rate of causing cardiac arrests or heart attacks. Those sudden lunges, jumps, exertions and rapid stop-start movements that are necessary to winning a game are supposedly the key culprits that put stress on the heart and cardiac muscles.

This piece of information came up during one dinner conversation with my folks as they cautioned me about hubs badminton playing.

Not that they were discouraging him from playing the sport, but it's normally recommended that badminton playing should be done on a regular basis rather than an occasional activity to ensure the player's heart would not be 'shocked' from the sudden activity out of the blue.

I was dubious at first, but was soon listening with bemused expression on my face as my parents related a number of cases of people they knew who died in the middle a badminton game or later afterwards.

One sad story really stood out in my mind about this man who died in his sleep after a badminton game. He had come home complaining that he was not feeling well and went to his room to take a nap. Later his mother went up to his room and found he had passed away in his sleep. He was in his fifties and never married. The thing that made this really sad was that he died just before getting married to his sweetheart of ten years.

I never thought of badminton as being a dangerous sport. I did some searching to see what the scientific link between badminton and cardiac arrests were. I wasn't able to find any specific articles mentioning such a direct link. But a couple of forum threads like this one and this do caution older people who feel the exertion taking a toll or those with cardiac issues against playing the game.

This story reminds me of another incident of someone we knew whose brother passed away in his sleep. This was a case of a young man in his twenties and didn't involved badminton but was nevertheless still very sad. In that post I remarked "...the saddest thing is to have a loved one taken away in such a sudden manner, without a chance for having any of those last lingering moments together..."

So if you have a loved one who's a badminton addict, it might be worthwhile to linger a little longer to get a good look at them before they head off for a game. I suppose this should apply to other sports and situations as well. Just a thought.

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