A second man has died of a suspected heart attack after competing in Sunday’s City to Surf, prompting doctors to call for all fun run competitors to be warned about possible health risks.
The Australian Medical Association said yesterday that while it was not apportioning blame and some tragedies could not be avoided, it was concerned about the third death linked to the fun run in as many years.
The West Australian has learnt lawyer Daniel O’Dea, a member of the National Native Title Tribunal in Perth since 2002, collapsed soon after completing the charity event.
Friends called an ambulance, which took him from City Beach to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.
It is understood Mr O’Dea, aged in his early 50s and with teenage children, had a heart attack in hospital and had stent surgery that day to clear a blockage. He appeared to have recovered well and was discharged on Tuesday but died in his sleep at home that night.
City to Surf organisers confirmed Mr O’Dea completed the event but said he left in seemingly good health. They said his death was upsetting and devastating, and they passed on their condolences to his family.
A SCGH spokeswoman confirmed Mr O’Dea was sent home in a stable condition with follow-up care arranged.
A family friend said Mr O’Dea’s wife was in shock because he was fit and seemed well after the surgery. He was loved and respected by family, friends and colleagues.
It comes after the death of Jeffrey Ong, 32, who was rushed to SCGH after a suspected heart attack after he finished the 12km run and died soon after.
A City to Surf spokeswoman said another two people had been treated by paramedics on Sunday.
French runner Vincent Maudieu, 30, died in the event two years ago. The AMA intends to write to organisers of the event and other fun runs, including the HBF Run for a Reason, asking them to give entrants more information about possible health risks.
WA president Richard Choong said people signing up to fun runs could get an automated letter about the risks and advising those unsure of their health to see a doctor before they competed.
People who were not fit and those who had not undergone a recent check-up, particularly older participants, were well-advised to see a doctor before competing in any vigorous exercise.
“When you enter an event of high exertion, and even walking can be that for some people, if you have any doubts you should see a doctor to see if it is safe for you,”
Dr Choong said.
“When it is someone young, you certainly would not expect them to have a heart attack, but in some people there might be warning signs of a potential risk.
“Fun runs are great initiatives we want to encourage and we’re not trying to warn people off going into them but there is high exertion and people become a bit more competitive trying to get their best times and maybe their heart is not up for it.”
Sunday’s City to Surf attracted a record of more than 48,000 competitors.