Heart and Sport

  • Peter Jokl
  • E. Jokl
Conference paper


Prior to the second half of the 19th century, it was generally believed that exercise was a potential cause of cardiac damage. In 1869, Prof. J. E. Morgan studied the after-health of 294 men who had rowed in the University Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge from 1829 to 1869. 17 of them, he wrote, complained of “ill effects” whose nature, however, was not detailed. In a lecture at Edinburgh in 1883 entitled The Use and Abuse of Physical Training, C. W. Cathcart dealt with “the dangers to the heart of organized games in schools”. In 1892, Sir Frederick Treves devoted 12 out of 20 pages of an article on medical aspects of exercise to a discussion of “heart strain from exercise”, a problem which according to a statement made in 1893 by W. Collier had to be kept in mind in designing physical education programs for children. Sir Lauder Brunton, in an address to the York Medical Society in 1898 on medical aspects of athletics, emphasized „the vulnerability of the heart of young boys”. In 1901, a London daily paper published a letter “signed by four eminent doctors” condemning all runs of over one mile by high school boys. Prior to 1900, girls were not mentioned. At that time the view was paramount that a “horse sweats, a man perspires, but a lady only glows”. Though never substantiated, admonitions of the above-mentioned kind impressed the man in the street. To some extent they still do so today.


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Copyright information

© Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag, GmbH & Co. KG, Darmstadt 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Jokl
    • 1
  • E. Jokl
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Yale University, Medical SchoolNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.University of Kentucky Medical SchoolLexingtonUSA

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