Electrolytes and Sport


Hall of Famer
Mar 21, 2016
Down South Corvus Tristis
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Sturt, Redskins , White Sox
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Just reading up on Dylan Roberton St Kilda player who collapsed onfield . He is ok and getting checked.

One of the comments coming out suggest he had a 'sodium imbalance' . On looking up it does seem sodium imbalance is a thing and mostly from electrolytes

Electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are involved in heart contraction and relaxation. Cardiac nerve impulse conduction begins when calcium ions trigger calcium channels to open. Once the channel opens, potassium rushes out of the cell and sodium rushes into the cell -- and this causes the heart to contract. Almost immediately, magnesium ions trigger potassium to rush back into the cells, which pushes sodium out of the cell -- causing the heart to relax.

I am not suggesting anything untoward or any shady practices but following Ahmed Saads banning from having an energy drink powder is this something to keep an eye on?

Saads story

How many of these did Roberton have? Or did he have something else? Once again not suggesting anything out of bounds, just want to see the young man return to full fitness.

Electrolyte Imbalances
According to the American Heart Association, potassium imbalances are the most common electrolyte-associated cardiac arrhythmias. Potassium plays a role in both nerve conduction and the heart’s ability to send an electrical impulse. Low potassium levels can cause relatively stable arrhythmias, while high potassium levels can quickly lead to lethal arrhythmias. Sodium, magnesium and calcium imbalances also place the heart at risk for arrhythmias. However, the American Heart Association notes that arrhythmias caused by these electrolytes only occur when electrolyte levels are extremely low or high -- levels that are typically incompatible with human functioning, leading to death.

Although some heart arrhythmias are quite harmless, electrolyte-caused arrhythmias are more risky. Whether the heart is beating too fast, too slow or at a completely irregular pace, it can cause too much blood to accumulate in the heart chambers. As blood pools in the heart, it can lead to clot formation. Clots that break loose and travel to the lungs can cause respiratory distress and pulmonary embolism, while clots that travel to the brain can cause a stroke. Furthermore, a prolonged arrhythmia causes excess stress on the heart muscle. Over time, this muscle becomes weak and damaged and can no longer effectively function.

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Premium Platinum
Feb 22, 2006
AFL Club
The problem is, you can have an arrhythmia and not know it. I was diagnosed with a/fib a couple of years ago. I've probably had it all my life (my mother had it, so did hers). The biggest danger with arrhythmia is that it can throw clots, which of course can be fatal. If his is as a result of too many sports drinks, then it's easily fixed. A bit more complicated if it's a genetic thing.
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