14 April 2022

During the digital ESC Preventive Cardiology 2022 congress, Esmée Bakker received the Young Investigator Award for her abstract ‘Acute and long-term mortality rates among participants of mass-participation sports events versus the general population.’

The study is about the potential acute health risks and the long-term health benefits of participation to mass-participation sports events. Although exercise markedly reduces the risk of all-cause mortality, an acute bout of exercise could transiently increase the risk of sudden death. Therefore, the study aimed to assess the acute and long-term mortality risk among participants of mass-participation sports events and to place these risks into perspective. The study population contained more than 1 million recreational athletes participating to Dutch sports events between 1995 and 2017.

The study showed that participants of a mass-participation sports event had a non-significant increased odds of death within 8-days after the event. In contrast, the mortality risk was significantly lower for recreational athletes compared to controls from the general population during long-term follow-up. This emphasizes that the health benefits of exercise and participation in mass-participation sports events outweigh the risks.

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