clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Milan’s Ivan Strinic set to miss time because of medical issue

Croatia defender has been diagnosed with a heart problem

England v Croatia: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

It looks like AC Milan fans will wait to see Croatia defender, and World Cup finalist, Ivan Strinic suit up for the Rossoneri.

Strinic has been diagnosed with what the club has called, “an initial hypertrophy of the cardiac muscle,” and that he needs to avoid any sporting activity, including playing football, for an extended period of time.

Milan’s official statement read that Strinic is suffering from, “an initial hypertrophy of the cardiac muscle, which merits further investigation after a period of rest. For this reason, the player must temporarily suspend sporting activity until the tests have been completed.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease that occurs when the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. It is often goes undetected because most people show few, if any, symptoms of the disease. It is a genetic condition, and there is no “cure” for the disease.

There is a risk, however, of complications from the disease. Among the most serious complications, occurring in about 1% of all cases, is sudden cardiac death. There are ways to treat complications and mitigate the symptoms, but most doctors recommend that those that suffer from Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy do not participate in organized sports. Per the Mayo Clinic’s website:

Implantation of a cardioverter-defibrillator has been shown to help prevent sudden cardiac death, which occurs in about 1 percent of people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Unfortunately, because many people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy don’t realize they have it, there are instances where the first sign of a problem is sudden cardiac death. These cases can happen in seemingly healthy young people, including high school athletes and other young, active adults. News of these types of deaths generates understandable attention because they’re so unexpected, but parents should be aware these deaths are quite rare.

Still, doctors trained in heart abnormalities generally recommend that people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy not participate in most competitive sports with the possible exception of some low-intensity sports. Discuss specific recommendations with your cardiologist.

Does this mean that Strinic’s career is over? He’s 31 years old, and has played at a high level of football for over a decade, meaning that so far the condition has not hampered his ability to play sports. However, given that there is going to be a risk almost anytime he steps onto the pitch, he and his doctors might decide it best for him to call it a day.

For example, former West Ham United, Cameroon, and Manchester City midfielder Marc-Viven Foé died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 2003 during a Confederations Cup match against Colombia in France.

This is a risky disease, and treatment options are extremely limited. Strinic will receive some of the best care available in the world, but it would be very surprising to see him take the pitch in a competitive football match ever again.