Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Marathon runner dies after taking sports supplements and painkillers

Monday, September 02, 2013

Marathon runner dies after taking sports supplements and painkillers

Back on the 14th of April 2013, a 23 year old runner named Sam Harper Brighouse fell ill at the 16 mile mark in the Brighton Marathon in England and tragically died. At an inquest last week, the coroner said that the cause of death of due to......."idiosyncratic reaction to hyperthermia, dehydration, endurance exertion, hyperosmolar sports supplements and ibuprofen".

The deceased had taken two or four ibuprofen tablets during the race as well as the sports supplements and at the time of his death, his potassium levels were three times the normal level which caused his heart to stop.

In a statement, the coroner said......"There is no evidence that any other death has occurred in the same circumstances as Sam's did. Sam died as a result of a combination of complications arising on a background of endurance sport. This combination has never been recorded before and may never be recorded again. Sam was unique in life and he remains unique in his death. His intent was to undertake to run the Brighton Marathon and prepared entirely sensibly. He didn't indulge in any risky behaviour. The products he used to support him were recognised and recommended. Everything that Sam did was entirely appropriate and yet events took an unexpected and unintended turn which led to his death. This is a definition of misadventure."

A spokesperson for the family said afterwards that they urged marathon runners to be careful when taking sports supplements....."We would like to thank all the people who attended to Sam after he collapsed. He was cared for by extraordinarily kind, compassionate people who could not have done more or tried harder to keep him alive. Sam's death was described by the coroner as extraordinarily rare, but it is a tragic reminder that participation in any endurance event and taking gels and analgesics to help you get through it carry a level of risk, no matter how fit you are or how hard you train. The endurance sports industry is still relatively new and we are all still learning about how the body copes and reacts to what we put it through and feed it. We would urge all those involved in the industry to do what they can to ensure that everyone who participates does so knowing what they need to do and take to make the experience unforgettable for all the right reasons."

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In all of the running related websites that I visit, I have never seen any responsible website recommend the use of painkillers while running. It seems to be more confined to opinions on running forums. If you have to take painkillers to mask the pain then you are only hiding the problem. The results of a German study released in April of this year raised serious concerns about taking pain killers before a race. You can read it here on the Guardian website.

1 comment:

Gearoid said...

I have 3/4 marathons carrying a variety of injuries and haven't used painkillers - indeed the fear of of getting nauseous from using them is more of a fear than any discomfort.
I am really surprised that this report seems to see nothing unusual about taking four painkillers to help run a marathon.