After running the marathon that was held in the city on Sunday, a young runner was brought in a critical state to the medical tent set up at the finish line on the CPT ground in Taramani. The man had no pulse and needed several minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation before he was revived.
Several others also ended up needing immediate medical attention, according to doctors who were on duty at the event. Twelve runners were administered IV fluids as they were extremely dehydrated. Three runners had low blood pressure due to severe dehydration while 30 others came with sprains, cuts and bruises, say doctors who administered first aid and provided treatment. They added that quite a few runners reported giddiness too.
“The main factor is that not all of them were fit and we did not know about their fitness levels. They must have suffered electrolyte loss,” said A. Dhavapalani, head of emergency medicine, Apollo Hospitals, who was among those who treated the exhausted runners. He said the weather could have also lulled runners into a false belief that they did not need to tank up on fluids.
Sports medicine experts say those who wish to run must train for it. Runners must also get medically evaluated before embarking on a run. “It is common in marathons for a few runners to collapse. Thankfully, we could revive this patient. Typically, runners start training six to eight months in advance and gradually, prepare for the run,” Dr. Dhavapalani said.
G. Leonard Ponraj, assistant professor of sports medicine, Government Royapettah Hospital, said: “When you run, you lose sodium and potassium. A loss of electrolytes causes fatigue in the muscle and hypoxia and this could lead to collapse. Hypoxia is a condition where there is inadequate oxygen supply to the brain. Amateur runners typically hold their breath while running. It is important to learn the technique of running a marathon. For this, you have to train.”
According to these specialists, the runners could have avoided sprains and bruises if they had trained well.
Sports medicine expert Kannan Pughazhendi said often, people who ran during their school and colleges days would be under the impression they could compete. “But their body has de-trained over time. The services of celebrities should be employed to emphasise the importance of training,” he said.