Sudden Cardiac Arrest

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13 Lessons

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of sudden death in footballers on the field-of-play (FoP). It is typically the result of an undiagnosed structural or electrical cardiovascular disease. The infrequent yet regular occurrence of SCA during football can often be prevented through cardiovascular screening, and if necessary, effectively treated by immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) use.

The majority of SCA in footballers occurs during training or competition because exercise is a trigger for lethal arrhythmias in players with an underlying cardiac pathology. While physical activity is undoubtedly beneficial for cardiovascular health, the risk of sudden death increased during bouts of exercise.

Watch the following video to listen to FIFA Medical Director Prof Jiri Dvorak produce an overview of the issues relating to SCA in football.

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Learning outcomes

By the end of this module you should

  • be able to develop an action plan for the management of SCA;
  • be able to train team officials, players and medical staff to respond effectively to a case of SCA;
  • be able to appropriately identify SCA on the field of play and manage it appropriately;
  • understand how to deliver CPR on the field of play and use an AED appropriately in this setting;
  • be able to manage the transportation of an athlete with SCA;
  • have an understanding of the common causes of SCA in an athlete.


  • Watch the provided videos relating to the background of SCA in football and the management of SCA in a sports context.
  • Complete the ‘required reading’ and review media content
  • Read the FIFA Management of SCA booklet (link).
  • Complete a basic life support CPR certification from any organisation registered with the national relevant Resuscitation Council or approved equivalent.
  • Complete the case-based assessment task.


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