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Sudden death of an athlete during competition is a dramatic event. It is a tragedy not only for relatives, coaches and training partners. Public interest in these events probably arises from both the importance of sport in society and the paradox that physical activity can have both a positive and a negative impact on health.
The risk of sudden death is low in the general athletic population. However, there are athletes with congenital or acquired heart disease, who may develop cardiac arrhythmias during exercise and die suddenly. Traumatic deaths in athletes are also very rare events. Our National Register was designed to understand the exact causes of sudden deaths in sport in Switzerland. It may help to prevent some of these deaths in the future by appropriate screening and preventive measures.