Men Over 40 Should Think Twice Before Running Triathlons

lakespraylakespray Member
edited June 2013 in General Discussion
The 40-to-60-year age bracket, often referred to as middle aged men in Lycra, or Mamils, now holds 32 percent of the membership in USA Triathlon, the sport’s official governing body in the U.S. More fitness conscious than previous generations, their numbers in competitive races are swelling, along with their risk of cardiac arrest. Triathlons, the most robust of endurance races requiring swimming, biking and running, are also believed to be the most risky.

“People need to understand that they’re not necessarily gaining more health by doing more exercise,” said David Prior, a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne. “The attributes to push through the barriers and push through the pain are common in competitive sport, but that’s also dangerous when it comes to ignoring warning signs.”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-20/men-over-40-should-think-twice-before-running-triathlons.html

Comments

  • Surely athletes such as these eat a decent diet and are used to the physical strain of a triathlon. I know cardiac arrest has occurred in a number of people during endurance events but I thought the risk of cardiac arrest within someone physically fit was much smaller than those who do no exercise?
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited June 2013

    A five-member Medical Review Panel was convened, inclusive of three physicians and two race directors with broad experience in triathlon, and particular interest or expertise in the issue of race safety. This group reviewed information for 45 cases and assembled its findings into a preliminary report. Much of the assembled data is presented in the following pages. The preliminary report was shared first with the attendees of the USA Triathlon Race Directors Symposium in January 2012 and more recently with a Review Group that was assembled to solicit specific feedback. This Review Group included representatives from the broader triathlon community—athletes, coaches, event organizers, risk management experts, and medical professionals.

    statistician(s)?

    see comments here ...

    http://www.usatriathlon.org/news/articles/2012/10/102512-medical-panel-report.aspx

    ... which also has a link to the 14 page PDF.
  • Information that was not available for review included:
    About the victims Detailed medical history (i.e., medical conditions)*
    Detailed accounts of medical treatment(s) provided at the event or
    during/after transport to the hospital*
    Official autopsy findings, if any*
    Experience level with triathlon or endurance sport in general

    I read as far as that @oxo. Any review into health that cannot cite the previous medical history may as well be ignored.
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited June 2013
    leave out the statisticians and apparently ya get idiotic charts like this ...

    image

    ... which is from page 6 of the 14 page PDF:
    http://www.usatriathlon.org/news/articles/2012/10/102512-medical-panel-report.aspx

    So, yeah, there are more USAT fatalities among participants in their 40's than any other decade-bracket, but maybe there are more 40-somethings triathletes than any other age group. In fact there are.

    While USAT has not published an age-group break-down of event participation per se, USAT makes available a 21 page PDF titled 2012 USA Triathlon Demographics Report on this webpage ....

    http://www.usatriathlon.org/~/media/e5d25331eee14e8a8f97a562939b42df.ashx

    ... which contains on page 9 a table titled 'Annual Membership by Age Range' (annual membership as opposed to one-day memberships) which I've adapted here ...

    image

    ... and incorporated in column 4 as a surrogate for Historical Participation using the assumption that when it comes to age-distribution, participation is proportional to membership, and previous memberships are proportional to 2012's ...

    image

    Note that risk (column 5) is nearly identical for anyone 20-50, and for practical purposes, anyone age 20-60.

    Looking at risk (rather than absolute numbers) gives a radically different perspective on fatalities in USAT events, albeit a perspective not as sensational as might be desired by a news outlet that targets readers aged 20-60 years, and a perspective that is perhaps legally more troublesome for USAT.

    A couple fwiws. Normalizing column 5 such that it adds up to 100 will yield ...
    0.0   1.2   1.1   1.2   2.4   5.4   6.3   82.0
    USAT reported data (blue and white chart above) that lacks age information for one fatality. Column 5 can be recalculated with it added in, which yields ...
    0.004   0.035   0.029   0.032   0.063   0.156   0.309   4.081
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited June 2013
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  • NiekNiek Member
    edited June 2013
    @oxo interesting reading.
    The only thing I found interesting in the bloomberg article was:

    World Triathlon Corp., the owner of the sport’s Ironman-branded events, made changes to the swim portion of select races after an increase in competitor deaths in recent years, the company announced last month.
    Events in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Lake Placid, New York; and Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, no longer feature a mass swim start, eliminating a long-standing Ironman tradition. Athletes at those races will either enter the water in a continuous stream through an access point, with their time starting when they cross a timing mat, or in staggered waves based on their age group.


    Are they finaly thinking about safety? All those mass starts for media purposes should be banned and more managable waves should be used. Maybe next they can then go even maintain their own rules. Which are not existing. Atleast I can't find how to behave in the water in their rules and regulations
    So how should a triathlete know how to conduct himself. The most important should be: keep your distance from the others and don't intentionally impede each other.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • oxooxo New Member
    edited June 2013
    Published USAT data that I've looked at does not support the idea that there is an increase in fatalities in triathlons that cannot be explained by mere increases in membership. Look at the table on page 5 of the 2012 Demographic PDF and Table 3 on page 5 of the 2012 Fatality PDF. See also chapter 21 of Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. See also http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20887912

  • NiekNiek Member
    edited June 2013
    At http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/discussion/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=492859&posts=32&page=2 someone has a good question:
    I'd like to know which percentage as a population is higher:

    1. Men between 40-60 that participate in triathlon that have died of cardiac arrest

    2. Men between 40-60 that do not exercise that have died of cardiac arrest.
    http://openwaterswimming.eu - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!
  • oxooxo New Member
    non sequitur ... but anyway, why do you think that it is a good question? seems ill defined to me.
  • oxooxo New Member
    image
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