NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On World Thrombosis Day (October 13), the National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA – stoptheclot.org), the nation's leading patient advocacy organization focused on life-threatening blood clots, announced the launch of its new Sports & Wellness Institute, a comprehensive online community and resource designed specifically for amateur athletes and others striving to return to healthy, active lifestyles after surviving blood clots.
While medical advances are helping speed and improve the diagnosis of blood clots, awareness of risk factors, signs and symptoms remains critical. Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight reduce a person's risk for blood clots, but in some cases physical fitness alone won't prevent them. The mission of the NBCA Sports & Wellness Institute is to equip people who regularly listen to their bodies (as athletes often do) with information about early detection and prevention.
Wimbledon legend Serena Williams, NBA All-Star Chris Bosh and MLB pitcher Scott Oberg each experienced blood clots that threatened their lives and careers. Their public experiences are reflective of many amateur athletes who get blood clots and may be misdiagnosed because of their physical fitness.
Alok Khorana, M.D., Chair of NBCA's Medical & Scientific Advisory Board (MASAB) and Cleveland Clinic Lerner College Professor of Medicine of Medicine, explained, "People are often surprised when an athlete or fitness enthusiast suffers a blood clot, but they can affect even the most physically fit people. In fact, athletes often face unique risk factors for clots including injury and immobilization, workout regimens and dehydration, and repetitive motion."
Leslie Lake, NBCA Board Chair, said, "The National Blood Clot Alliance Sports & Wellness Institute will help people understand and manage their blood clot diagnosis by offering community support, science-based educational resources and effective tools to help get survivors back in the game and go the distance to regain physical and mental health."
The National Blood Clot Alliance cautions that several circumstances put athletes, as well as non-athletes, at increased risk for blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism or PE) and blood clots the legs or arms (deep vein thrombosis or DVT). Athletes and Blood Clot Risk Factors:
Traveling long distances to and from a sports competition (by plane, bus, or car)
Dehydration (during and after a strenuous sporting event)
Immobilization (brace or cast)
Bone fracture or major surgery
Birth control pills and patch, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy
Family history of DVT or PE
Presence of an inherited or acquired clotting disorder (Factor V Leiden, prothrombin
20210 mutation, antiphospholipid antibodies, and others)
Presence of a congenital abnormality of the anatomy of the veins
May-Thurner Syndrome (narrowing of the major left pelvic vein)
Narrowing or absence of the inferior vena cava (the main vein in the abdomen)
Cervical rib causing thoracic outlet obstruction
The NBCA Sports & Wellness Institute is dedicated to the concept of TEAM: focused on Togetherness, Education, Awareness, and Motivation. Whether you are a marathoner, part of a dodgeball league, play tennis with your best friend from high school twice a month or walk to keep in shape, NBCA is a resource for people who are going through, recovering from or are thriving following a blood clotting event.
Charles Sano, Sports & Wellness Institute Co-Chair, former sales and events director for the Miami Marlins and a blood clot survivor, said, "Blood clots can be scary, humbling and life-changing. For people who get them at the peak of their physical fitness, it might even feel like their body has betrayed them. But blood clots don't have to sideline you indefinitely. They can lead to positive growth and inspire triumph over adversity."
Mimi MacKinnon, Sports & Wellness Institute Co-Chair, special assistant at the National Football League and also a blood clot survivor added, "So many people like me who've had a blood clot just want to get back out there and start exercising again. The Sports & Wellness Institute will help them figure out how and where to begin and, once they've started, will provide community support and encouragement to keep them going."