Triathlon Athlete Says Panic Attacks Are Killing Competitors

Eight people died while competing in triathlons in 2011 and one athlete believes he knows why those deaths occurred: panic attacks.

David Brown has recently revealed that panic attacks are a rather regular occurrence in the swimming portion of triathlon’s, most often caused by a host of factors that include anxiety caused by “the excitement of the moment” to the chest constriction competitors feel while wearing wetsuits, along with the “chaos of swimming into and over other people.

Brown tells the Washington Post that he understands the dangerous of panic attacks, specifically in the swimming portion of the competition because he has felt the same attacks during his own races.

At this time it’s impossible for researchers to determine if Brown’s theory is correct since an autopsy can not tell if a panic attack occurred right before death. US triathlon officials have also failed to investigate how often panic attacks occur in their athletes which could in turn help determine the likelihood that panic attacks are common enough to cause a handful of deaths each year.

In the meantime event promoters have begun to deal with the panic attack issue by providing participants with the tools they need to cope with anxiety. In the meantime David Brown writes that it’s about time that “the whole sport” prepares to do “a better job” addressing the panic attack issue.

Do you think Brown is correct in blaming many triathlon deaths on panic attacks?

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