There's been this mystery looming over triathlons and deaths that seemingly come out of nowhere during them. There might be an answer now, though, and the culprit might be panic attacks!
In a triathlon, it starts in the water, goes to biking, and ends with running. Most of the quitters happen in the water, and most of them because of panic attacks. When you look closely though, the number of deaths between 2006 and 2008, there were 14.
13 of them happened in the water.
The official causes of death were drowning, but what caused the drowning?
It's believed to be panic attacks.
Here is the hypothesis:
In the swim event, a combination of stresses can lead to a panic attack (or something like it): the excitement of the moment, the chaos of swimming into and over other people, the chest constriction of the wet suit, the darkness and coldness of the water, competitiveness and the desire not to quit when friends and family are watching. On rare occasions this leads to drowning.
The thing is, most experienced competitors know of how often the panic attacks happen and witness them every single time they start a race. They also experience them themselves. But nobody is officially looking into it.
Which is a mistake.
Lives could be saved if they had some kind of structure to relieve the stresses at the beginning — maybe a staggered start and rely solely on time instead of "who crosses first" at the end. Who knows?
Point is that any death is too many.
[Image via AP Images.]
Tags: answer, biking, body, chest, death, family, friends, panic attack, people, race, running, stress, swimming, triathlon, water