TWO weeks ago I attended an information meeting on heart disease among athletes, hosted by the Icelandic Football Association. The reason this meeting was called is obvious: since mass vaccination for Covid-19 started, twice as many footballers as before have collapsed on the field with heart attacks. One of the victims, Icelandic footballer Emil Pálsson, was among the panellists.
I had meant to report on the meeting immediately as I expected Professor Martin Halle of the Technical University of Munich, who monitors the health of German athletes, to provide interesting and valuable information. But there was little to report from Halle’s presentation. He told the audience about the first known sudden death of an athlete in, 490 BC (very relevant, of course) then he showed a few charts on deaths among marathon runners between 2000 and 2010. Finally he brought up a few old photos of athletes collapsing in the field, carefully avoiding the most recent ones. But most of his time was spent on showing photos and videos from his research facility in Munich, going into detail about his equipment, and showing cardiographs which, as a doctor friend present told me, add no information to doctors and are meaningless to those not medically trained. And no mention at all of the recent spike in athlete deaths.
After an hour and a half of this and a good dash of technical problems – the good doctor had been unfortunate enough to catch the deadly virus the day before and thus could not travel to Iceland, despite no doubt having received multiple vaccine doses and, judging from the pictures, being masked at all times, so the presentation had to be done remotely – there was finally time for questions from the audience. Of the many doctors present, only one asked about the the mass vaccination programme. Of all the reporters present it was only myself, the humble amateur reporter for TCW, who asked a question at all. I asked Dr Halle if he had noticed the increase in heart disease recently and how Covid-19 and mass vaccination might contribute to this development.
After a sudden coughing fit, due to the virus of course, Dr Halle told us he had no data on this, which came as a bit of surprise considering his day job. He said however that it was his ‘feeling’ that there might be an increase. He explained this by doping, which is no new phenomenon and thus not a valid explanation. When pressed, and after another and even worse fit of coughing, he admitted to seeing cases of myocarditis every week now.
The chart above, constructed from a Wikipedia list of cardiac arrests in football, presents a worrying picture, fully in line with recent research and real life data on adverse effects. The drop in 2020 is understandable because the footballers were mostly locked down, but the 21 collapses in 2021 are in stark contrast with the annual average of 11 over the five years preceding 2020. Let us not forget that 2021 was also a year of considerable lockdowns.
This is the development we all expected the renowned German expert to discuss in that meeting. And this is the discussion he did his very best to avoid.