RALEIGH, N.C. — Bronny James, the son of LeBron James, has been released from a hospital after being treated for sudden cardiac arrest, according to hospital staff.
The 18-year-old collapsed during a workout at the University of Southern California.
Bronny James' story is similar to other athletes', including the NFL’s Damar Hamlin, who collapsed on the field during a game.
Dr. Manesh Patel with Duke Health says it’s important to recognize that cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack.
“Cardiac arrest is when the heart, which usually has a top and bottom squeezing together, stops beating or starts going into a very fast rhythm that can potentially not get enough blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body,” Patel said.
Patel says it’s important to start CPR when this happens.
A heart attack is when a blockage prevents blood from reaching the heart, according to the American Heart Association.
Doctors encourage athletes to get electrocardiogram exams.
“When they put stickers around people’s chest and we look at the electrical wave forms of the heart and we look at that beating mechanism that sometimes tells us the risk that people have for other reasons that can lead to instability,” Patel said.
Collapses suffered by James and Hamlin bring attention to the risk of sudden cardiac arrest in Black male athletes.
A 2020 study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine found African-American male NCAA Division I basketball players had the highest rates of sudden cardiac arrest and death among athletes 11 to 29 years old.
“We need more information," Patel said. "There’s some theories of why we think it might happen. That study and other studies, what we’re doing with other sports science people across the country is collecting data on all of our athletes to understand their risk factors."
"There’s a few theories on the thickness around the muscle, the type of exercise people are doing but we certainly need more evidence," Patel said.
WakeMed is hosting a free screening event for young athletes at its Apex Healthplex from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 17.