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To present the case of a 20-year-old collegiate wrestler who suffered from atypical chest pains and syncope after rigorous exercise, dehydration, and ingestion of a metabolic stimulant.
As a result of pressure to obtain a lower body weight for competition, wrestlers often pursue practices to lose a substantial amount of weight in a short period of time. These practices include rigorous exercise, starvation, dehydration, laxatives, diuretics, and over-the-counter stimulants. Our case involves an athlete who ingested a metabolic stimulant containing ma huang (ephedrine) and suffered from syncope and atypical chest pains during a bout of rigorous exercise and dehydration to lose weight for competition.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, electrolyte imbalance, drug overdose, traumatic head injury, myocardial infarction, syncope.
The emergency medical services transported the athlete to the emergency room, and he was hospitalized for 2 days. After discharge, the team physician counseled the athlete in the dangers of metabolic stimulants and excessive weight-loss techniques.
This case is unique because it presents an athlete who ingested an over-the-counter stimulant to lose weight and suffered from syncope and atypical chest pains during a bout of rigorous exercise and dehydration.
Athletic trainers must understand not only the dangers of excessive weight loss, but also the dangers of using unregulated ephedrine-containing stimulants to aid in weight loss.