CRY announce the launch of the Save Our Athletes Research Project in conjunction with Philips

26th July 2007

SAVE OUR ATHLETES!philipssslogo
CRY to launch 5 year athlete cardiac research project to help understand the causes of Sudden Cardiac Death

pickeringfosterJune 2007 – UK charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) is launching the Save Our Athletes Research Project, a 5 year inclusive athlete cardiac research study lead by CRY, involving data from the USA and Germany.

By concentrating on all elite athletes, CRY will be able to gain a broader understanding of the effects of heavy and light exercise on the heart.

Launching the campaign are athletes from all over the UK including; Rob Hayles – 3 times Olympic medal holder (cycling); Karen Pickering – Britain’s most decorated female swimmer; and Mark Foster – double Commonwealth swimming champion. They will be amongst the first athletes to have their hearts screened by CRY experts at the Waterfront Leisure Centre, London.

Statistics and Facts

Sir Ian Botham OBE, President of the CRY Centre for Sports Cardiology, comments: “We want anyone who participates in sport to have heart screening, just as they do in Italy. The Save Our Athletes screening program is a giant step towards that, because of the empirical evidence it will provide. We must stop the terrible tragedies of young people involved in sport dying needlessly.”

Professional sports people know that to reach peak performance, they need to understand their body inside and out. For elite athletes in high profile sports, heart screening is a fundamental part of training, but due to the costs access is not universal. Athletes in sports with lower profiles, who represent our sporting future, are left vulnerable to Sudden Death Syndrome.

Exercise is associated with a 10 fold increase in the incidence of heart problems, yet a simple cardiac scan followed by professional examination of the data can highlight symptoms that, if left unmanaged, can lead to sudden death in healthy young athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

rhayles1The screening programme will be led by Professor Greg Whyte – Chairman of CRY and Professor of Applied Sport & Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moores University; working in tandem with consultant cardiologist Dr Sanjay Sharma – Director of Heart Muscle Disease at Kings College Hospital, London.

In the first two years CRY will screen 1500 elite athletes using the latest cardiac imaging technology from Philips, at centres across the UK, including the Centre for Sports Cardiology at the Olympic Medical Institute, London.

Professor Whyte comments: “The Save Our Athletes project will be world leading, enabling CRY to research the role of cardiovascular screening, allowing us to fully identify disorders capable of causing sudden cardiac death.”

He continues, “Everyone is potentially at risk and the only accurate means of diagnosis is through expert cardiovascular assessment. The next five years will be seminal to our understanding of which people are most vulnerable to sudden death during exercise.”

Since it was established in May 1995 to raise awareness of Sudden Death Syndrome, CRY has been campaigning and lobbying to raise awareness of the condition. CRY also works to provide counselling support to bereaved families and any individuals who have been diagnosed.

Fitness Checklist

Alison Cox, CRY Chief Executive and Founder, was awarded an MBE in 2007 for services to healthcare pertinent to the tireless work of the charity’s team and CRY’s supporters from all over the UK. Ms Cox comments: “CRY was established with the screening of athletes for the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA). Today we work to support anyone and everyone affected by the circumstances of sudden death. The Save Our Athletes research will help us further our campaign for change, and reduce the terrible roll-call of tragedy of young sudden cardiac death.”

The symptoms of heart conditions can be very deceptive, especially to people who have always been able to push themselves to the limit. Often people relate pains to over exertion, or a drop in power to ‘an off day’, but sometimes these are the body’s warning signs of heart conditions. For anyone who has worries about their heart health, CRY has developed a Fitness Checklist (right).

About CRY
CRY was set up in 1995 to raise public awareness of and provide information on SADS in people aged 35 and under. Crucially, it offers subsidised ECG testing to young people and is currently campaigning to introduce routine screening for teenagers in secondary schools, to eliminate such causes of sudden death. CRY offers regular heart screenings in Harrow at the CRY Centre for Sports Cardiology and at clinics in Northern Ireland and Colchester. They also have a mobile unit that visits sports clubs, schools and local communities, and there are other supporting clinics nationwide. Appointments can be booked via the website (call 01737 363 222 or visit

About Royal Philips Electronics
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