Cardio protection against sudden death in sport

Soccer fields and safe cardio sports facilities

Cardio protection against sudden death in sport

Among all sports, soccer is the most popular sport in the world with about 200 million people who play it. During an average match there are combinations of short duration sprints, high intensity runs, jumps, duels, changes of pace, changes of direction, reversing, and bouts of walking and standing.

In this context, the intensity of physical exercise makes it essential to have a cardio protection plan for any sport. In football, physical intensity varies according to the player's position on the field of play. Currently, in professional leagues, the total distance covered by each player during matches is calculated, making an analysis of time and routes that reveal the distribution of efforts according to speed thresholds.

Sudden death can and has occurred on occasion on soccer fields and sports facilities. To prevent sudden death, sports cardioprotection must include the provision of cardioprotective equipment and training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of the DEA defibrillator by the club's technical team, in the event of a cardiorespiratory arrest every minute counts.


Training in CPR and AED defibrillator equipment in sports facilities


The average heart rate in football matches ranges between 165 and 175 beats per minute, both in competitive and friendly matches. In relation to age, there are peculiarities in both young and older soccer players.

In lower categories, the average heart rate of youth soccer players exceeded 170 beats per minute during 84% of the 90 minutes in official matches. In contrast, absolute heart rate values ​​ranged between 120 and 140 beats for older amateur soccer players.

Women soccer players exert similar pressure on the aerobic and anaerobic systems compared to men. Although the elite soccer players presented a greater total distance traveled and a greater number of high-intensity actions than the players from lower leagues, no differences were observed in the HR data. In the same context, elite female soccer players presented similar HR responses to elite male players during matches.



Intensity sports such as athletics, cycling, basketball, tennis, hockey, paddle tennis, crossfit, gym or simply running, whether professional or amateur athletes require overexertion with the consequent increase in heart rate. This demand for high pulsations increases the pressure on the entire circulatory system. Statistically, there is a percentage of professional athletes that overexertion at a certain age can lead to arrhythmias, or in the worst case, in a sudden cardiorespiratory arrest.

The ILCOR in its 2021 recommendations on cardiorespiratory arrest in sports, refers to the planning and provision of cardioprotective means and equipment with which to reverse cardiac arrest in sports practices.


The following recommendations aim to provide an effective response to sudden death in sport 


  1. Soccer fields and sports facilities must carry out an assessment of the risk of sudden death.
  2. When there is a high risk, the measures should include the training of club staff and the players themselves in cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques and the use of a defibrillator. Having an AED is essential.
  3. Recognition of cardiac arrest, with quick and safe access to the field of play.
  4. Request medical assistance and activate the EMS.
  5. Check for vital signs, if no vital signs: Begin CPR, have AED defibrillator available, and defibrillate if indicated.
  6. If return of spontaneous circulation ROSC occurs, monitor the victim until advanced medical assistance arrives.
  7. If there is no recovery of spontaneous circulation ROSC: Continue CPR and AED defibrillation until medical services arrive. On a soccer field, consider moving the patient to a less exposed position to continue CPR. Transfer should be performed with minimal interruption of chest compressions.


Cardioprotected soccer field with DEA ​​defibrillators and training



The ILCOR recommends prevention when practicing high-intensity sports:

  1. Do not engage in physical exercise, especially extreme exercise or competitive sports, if you feel unwell.
  2. Follow medical advice regarding levels of exercise or sports competition.
  3. It recommends performing cardiac screening tests for young athletes who play high-level competitive sports.

If your club or sports center is not cardioprotected against cardiorespiratory arrest, write to us via chat for more information about our formulas to cardioprotect sport.


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