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Deaths in recent races prompt USA Triathlon review

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Kevin Harris, M.D.

[Associated Press, September 30, 2011] USA Triathlon is creating a task force to determine if anything more can be done to prevent deaths such as those that occurred at recent races in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Louisville, Ky. The move comes after five triathletes died following U.S. races over the last two months.

Deaths during triathlons remain rare, and as more people participate there is bound to be a corresponding increase in the number of fatalities. According to research published last year in The Journal of American Medicine, there were 14 deaths among the almost 960,000 participants in U.S. triathlons between 2006 and mid-September 2008, a rate of 1.5 deaths per 100,000 participants.

"The results were a surprise to me," said Dr. Kevin Harris, a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute and lead author of the JAMA article. "We saw a cluster of events in the triathlon, but we didn't realize before getting into the details that the vast majority were going to be during the swim portion."

Posted on October 03, 2011 in Allina Health System

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