ZocdocAnswers16 yr old female collapsed after cross country race - why?

Question

16 yr old female collapsed after cross country race - why?

We have a 16 yr old daughter who runs on ave. 6-8 mi. per day @ a slightly less pace than race pace. She ran cross country Sat. - state level and ran well -felt strong - breathing good- felt she had a good kick for the end, until about 400yds out; became mentally confused- legs became numb and cramped in calves although she had plenty of g2 and h2o prior and sweated for another 30 min. aft. race. she collapsed on the finish line- completely incoherant- she had eaten a banana b4 race....suggestions pls

Answer

There are so many different possible causes of what happened to your daughter. However, the bottom line is that she needs to be evaluated by her pediatrician as soon as possible. Also, she shouldn't run again until this evaluation is complete. I know that sounds quite harsh, but it is absolutely critical to rule out a heart problem as the cause of her symptoms. Extreme physical exercise often unmasks heart problems in young athletes, some of which can be fatal if they are not detected. Fortunately, these problems are rare, but they must be ruled out. Your daughter's doctor will start by asking detailed questions about the accident. They will also perform a careful cardiac examination, and they will probably want to get an electrocardiogram (electrical tracing of the heart). If these turn up anything concerning, then your daughter may need an ultrasound of the heart (echocardiogram) or Holter monitor/event monitor (portable electrocardiogram that she wears around the clock for a few days). If this evaluation is normal, then your daughter's doctor will be able to counsel you on other possible causes, such as dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. Make an appointment with your pediatrician right away!

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