The heart stopped

Okay it seems that Thaddeus Cheong’s passing was a huge shock for many people from parents of young triathletes to normal athletes especially endurance runners. The police will only have the report (which I don’t think would be disclosed to the public) in a month’s time after investigations. Then there are speculations that it’s due to spontaneuos cardiac arrest or smth along this line. Many people ranging from those once from SAF to those trained in CPR from say St. John’s have argued how ridiculous it is an excuse to say they were not sure why he collapsed so nobody administered CPR. Personally, I agree that somebody should have done smth. Not enough to show the incompetence of the organisation, they allowed a van to drive him down to CGH. OMFG. At least on an ambulance they have this thing called the AED onboard that ‘would have automatically done a diagnostic test and determine if the heart has stopped or in fibrillation.’ I mean imagine if he survived this, he would possibly represent Singapore and shine along with our other star athletes like Tao Li.

There are a certain group of people who said athletes these days should know their limits, citing sports brands’ slogans such as Adidas’ Impossible Is Nothing and Nike’s It’s you against you (I never heard this one before though) to be worth thinking about. I would rather think that a strong mentality may afterall be the driving force to one’s fight to survive in such unfortunate situations. But the strong mind needs the medic even in the face of life threatening times.


June 26, 2007
Triathlete’s heart failure death shocks fraternity
By Jeanette Wang

HEART failure caused the death of national triathlete Thaddeus Cheong – a fact that has sent shock waves through the local community of endurance athletes.

The tragedy has also spurred concern among parents of other young triathletes, who now want their children checked for potential life-threatening heart ailments that may be lurking.

Thaddeus, 17, who died right after finishing a race on Sunday, was among the top of the pack in Singapore triathlon, and this made his death even more shocking, said athletes in the burgeoning triathlon scene yesterday.

His mother, Mrs Angeline Cheong, 46, told The Straits Times yesterday: ‘The autopsy result showed his heart failed, but further investigation is needed to find out the cause.’ This will take about a month.

Mrs Cheong added that in light of the incident, she will send her younger son, Thomas, 13, who is an aspiring triathlete, for medical tests.

Thaddeus, a first-year student at Raffles Junior College, collapsed after finishing a 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run in 2 hours 9 minutes in a South-east Asia Games selection trial at Changi.

His time was just 5 minutes off the pace of Mok Ying Ren, 19, the race winner.

At his wake in Jalan Girang, off Upper Serangoon Road, yesterday, parents of other young triathletes were visibly shocked and worried.

Tanney Wong, 39, whose teenage daughter is a recreational triathlete, said: ‘We’re looking at some specialists now to see if our child has heart problems.’

Father of three Calvin Koh, 44, also plans to send his teenage triathlete daughter for medical tests.

‘We’re definitely not going to stop her from doing the sport, but we’ll be even more cautious now.’

Others at the wake, including Parliamentary Secretary (Community Development, Youth and Sports) Teo Ser Luck, expressed sadness at the death of a talented and driven athlete.

Said Mr Teo, who is also a triathlete: ‘I feel very sad for him because he was just a young boy and he was training so hard. At least he was doing something he really loved.’

National head coach Guo Weidong, who has coached Thaddeus since 2004, said he was confident the boy would have been Singapore’s top triathlete in one to two years’ time.

‘Just when he grew a passion to train and a strong determination to win for Singapore, it all ended. It’s a waste,’ he said tearfully.

The death of an elite, young endurance athlete is rare, said doctors contacted by The Straits Times yesterday.

Dr Benedict Tan, consultant sports physician at Changi General Hospital and head of its sports medicine centre, said that unlike older people, those aged below 35 rarely suffer a heart attack due to high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes.

In most cases, the sudden death of a young individual is probably caused by an underlying heart condition that may not have been detected earlier, he said.

He suggested that those who engage in intensive physical activity such as triathlons and marathons go for a thorough screening to pick up any conditions they may have.

Mrs Cheong said that to her knowledge, Thaddeus did not have any heart condition.


Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Athletic Medicine
J Athl Train. 2001 Apr–Jun; 36(2): 205–209.
Glenn C. Terry,corresponding author* James M. Kyle,† James M. Ellis, Jr,‡ John Cantwell,§ Ron Courson,∥ and Ron Medlin¶

Death due to sudden cardiac arrest that is witnessed is preventable in many cases. However, most people who experience this condition die because of a prolonged response time from onset of the fatal arrhythmia to defibrillation by trained treatment providers. If athletic trainers or other members of the athletic care medical team are trained as target responders and equipped with automated electronic defibrillators, they can immediately treat an athlete who experiences a sudden, life-threatening tachyarrhythmia. This prompt response to the life-threatening emergency should result in a higher survival rate.

The most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest in athletes younger than 35 years is a consequence of an underlying cardiac abnormality. According to a study by The American Heart Association,4 the cardiac problems that can cause sudden cardiac arrest include hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (36%), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy–like structural changes (10%), anomalous origin of the left main coronary artery (10%), other coronary anomalies (9%), myocarditis (6%), ruptured aortic aneurysm (5%), tunneled left anterior descending artery (5%), aortic valve stenosis (4%), dilated cardiomyopathy (3%), and arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (2%). Other causes of sudden cardiac arrest include cardiac concussion (commotio cordis),8,9 drug-related (arrhythmia-allowing or arrhythmia-inducing)6 difficulties,1,2 and underlying coronary artery disease causing myocardial infarction with an associated fatal arrhythmia.

The effective treatment of an athlete experiencing sudden cardiac arrest depends on a sequence of responses by well-prepared providers, so that the steps, when linked together, form a “chain of survival” for the successful management of sudden cardiac arrest.1,2 The chain of survival includes the following: (1) prompt emergency medical system (EMS) activation; (2) early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by a first or target responder (less than 2 minutes); (3) early defibrillation (2 to 4 minutes); (4) early advanced life support (less than 8 minutes); and (5) late advanced life support.17 The first 4 links must have as short a time delay as possible to significantly increase survival rates.…i?artid=155533


10 comments on “The heart stopped”

  1. oo a change of skin.. btw i tot that RJ boy was cute. poor boy.. to prevent this sort of incident from happening, never push yourself beyond what your body can handle. but hey, what limits our bodies? we don’t even know. zZzZz…

  2. Hello, I have created an entry dedicted to Thaddeus Chong for people to leave comments and remember him.

    The url is here

    I also hope to include your entry about him in that post. Is that OK?

  3. omg. I am more than honoured. He’s like my role model athlete – an inspiration. Thanks a lot. (:

  4. Thx a lot! He is the role model for all the youth today. =)

  5. “There are a certain group of people who said athletes these days should know their limits, citing sports brands’ slogans such as Adidas’ Impossible Is Nothing and Nike’s It’s you against you (I never heard this one before though) to be worth thinking about. I would rather think that a strong mentality may afterall be the driving force to one’s fight to survive in such unfortunate situations. But the strong mind needs the medic even in the face of life threatening times.”

    This para is sooooo gp`ish. But i like the examples and analogies used. Hur.

    On a side note, Davida’s getting publicity. Hahahahah.

  6. Very GP? Hahaha! Ms Young shld read my blog then. Wait, I think I talk too much on the blog and somethings are way too crappy even for the Young one. lol.

    I’m not getting publicity la. It wld be nasty to use my role model for personal gain! (: Anyway rmbr my other role models? In case you forget, the’re Fabian and Jiayuan. And of course Thaddeus. It’s like a very strong mental motivation when I’m dead beat on the track.

  7. […] “Tribute” by David. 3. “The Heart Stopped” by […]

  8. Howdy! I simply wish to give a huge thumbs up for the great
    data youve here on this post. I shall be coming back to your blog for extra soon.

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