Soccer Player Dies of a Heart Attack After Drinking Glass of Cold Water

May 9, 2019 Updated: May 9, 2019

A 27-year-old soccer player died of a heart attack after he finished playing a match and downed a glass of refrigerated water.

Keen amateur footballer Ludwin Flores Nole, died of a heart attack after playing soccer with friends on the national Labor Day in a town in northeastern Peru, according to local media reports.

His wife, Ingrid Távara told Peru21 that her husband was hot after playing and wanted to cool off, so he grabbed a glass of ice water when he got home on May 1.

“Shortly thereafter, he became ill, his chest hurt, and we took him to a clinic, but he died on the way in.” she said. “The doctor told us that he had suffered a fulminant cardiac arrest.”

Nole played for the Los Rangers Club in the northwestern town of Sullana, reported ABC Society.

According to Peru21 and some other local reports, the heart attack was caused by the ingestion of cold water causing the blood vessels to the heart to constrict.

Sullana in Peru. (Screenshot/Googlemaps)

Other reports dispute this, saying that such a cause has not been proven in scientific literature. However, an investigation into a previous cases does suggest it is possible that the cold water could have set off a hidden heart condition.

A report in the American Journal of Forensic Pathology in 1999 examined the case of a 12-year-old boy who had died of a sudden heart attack after quickly drinking a frozen slurry drink.

The investigation determined that the boy had an undiagnosed heart condition. When he drank the ice-water mix, the sudden cold set off a nervous reaction that caused his heart rate to drop, which could in turn have set off the heart attack.

However, the heart attack only occurred because the boy had an undiagnosed heart tumor.

“Ingestion of cold liquids should be considered a potential trigger for fatal cardiac arrhythmias in patients with underlying heart disease,” said the report abstract.

In the world of sports, cases of athletes’ hearts simply stopping have also caught the headlines.

Footballer Fabrice Muamba’s heart suddenly stopped mid-match for 78 minutes during an FA Cup quarter-final back in 2012.

Fabrice Muamba
Referee Howard Webb looks on as Fabrice Muamba is treated by medical staff at White Hart Lane in north London after collapsing during a match on March 17, 2012. (Olly Greenwood/AFP/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old survived the Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), sometimes called “sudden adult death,” which often comes without warning.

Bolton’s English midfielder Fabrice Muamba is stretchered from the pitch at White Hart Lane in north London after collapsing during a match on March 17, 2012. (Olly Greenwood/AFP/Getty Images)
Fabrice Muamba
Fabrice Muamba of Bolton Wanderers waves to the crowd in Bolton, United Kingdom, on May 2, 2012. (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in young athletes, according to Boston Scientific.

Young athletes in the United States are more than twice as likely as their non-athlete peers to experience SCD, and 90 percent are male.

Over one third of SCD cases are caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy—a genetic predisposition to thickening of the heart wall.

According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the incidence of SCA during competitive sports was 0.76 per 100,000 athlete-years. The report said that compulsory screening would catch only one incident for every 146,000 athletes screened.

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