Background: Football (soccer) is popular among those of Masters age (≥35 years). Although regular exercise improves health, strenuous exercise causes a transient increase in cardiac risk. Aim: The aim of this survey of Masters Age Footballers was to gain insight into cardiac risk factors, symptoms, and knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about myocardial infarction (MI), and support for prevention.
Methods: A web-based survey using REDCap was completed by 153 amateur Masters footballers from A grade competition (n=24), B or lower grade (n=95) or social games (n=34) in Sydney, Australia.
Results: Participants were aged 49.3±7.5 years and primarily male (92.2%), Caucasian (88.9%) and university educated (75.2%). Risk factors included hypercholesterolaemia (37.3%), hypertension (19.6%), smoker (7.8%), overweight (40.5%) or obese (13.1%). One fifth (21.6%) reported ≥1 potential cardiac symptom during activity in the prior year, for which one quarter (24.2%) sought medical attention. Knowledge of typical MI symptoms was high (>80%) but lower (<40%) for less typical symptoms. Half (49.6%) were unconfident to recognise MI in themselves. Half (49.0%) would remain on the field for 5-10 minutes with chest pain. Only 39.9% were aware that warning signs may precede MI by days. They overestimated survival from cardiac arrest (43%). Participants supported training in automatic external defibrillators (AED) and CPR (84%), AEDs at games (85%) and cardiac education (>70%).
Conclusions: Cardiac risk factors are common In Masters footballers, with one in five experiencing possible cardiac symptoms in the prior year. While gaps exist in knowledge and optimal responses, strong support exists for preventive measures.