Medicine: Death on The Basketball Court

An athlete's fatal game raises some agonizing questions

The collapse, witnessed by millions of TV viewers last week, was sudden and mystifying. One minute a college basketball star -- one of the most promising in the U.S. -- was playing at the top of his form. The next he lay crumpled on the court, dying of apparent heart failure at age 23. But long before Hank Gathers' death, there were warning signals. The Philadelphia-born senior at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles had suffered a similar collapse three months earlier. He was diagnosed as having a heart-rhythm abnormality, treated with medication and cleared to play.

The exact cause of...

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