Commotio Cordis: Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletics


Commotio Cordis:  Sudden Cardiac Death in Athletics


CEUs Awarded:


Registration Fee:

$15 for NATA Members/ $25 for non-members


Wednesday, April 3, 2013


12:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. CST


Keith M. Gorse, EdD, LAT, ATC
Duquesne University – Department of Athletic Training
Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator


 A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Keith received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Pittsburgh, in Athletic Training and Science Education in 1983. His further educational accomplishments include: graduating from Duquesne University in 1988 with a Master's Degree in Secondary Science Education followed by a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership in August, 2010.
Keith was the Head Athletic Trainer for three years at Hempfield Area High School in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He went on to work for Carnegie Mellon University where he was the Head Athletic Trainer for fifteen years. While there, he was in charge of providing health care for over 460 student athletes participating in 17 varsity sports. Keith was also an instructor in their physical education department and taught courses in CPR, First Aid and AED certification. During his time at Carnegie Mellon he was also an adjunct clinical instructor for Duquesne University as well as the University of Pittsburgh's CAATE accredited Athletic Training Programs. He helped with the instruction and supervision of athletic training students during their undergraduate programs and their off campus clinical experiences at Carnegie Mellon.
Keith is now an Assistant Professor and Clinical Coordinator in the Department of Athletic Training at Duquesne University. He has three published articles in the NATA Journal and has presented material at the local and national athletic training meetings. He has worked with a variety of organizations to help promote athletic training as a viable health care field. Keith is currently the Allegheny County Representative to the Pennsylvania Athletic Trainers’ Society (PATS).


Blunt chest trauma in young athletes can result in various injuries to the heart.  Commotio Cordis is seen in athletes in whom the heart has been struck with relatively little force at a vulnerable period of the cardiac cycle. These athletes have no predisposing cardiac history. The usual clinical presentation is that of immediate collapse of the athlete after being struck in the chest. Prevention is the cornerstone of potentially decreasing the incidence with the aid of safety equipment and, possibly, immediate defibrillation with an AED unit. 

Clinical Objectives:

At the conclusion of this presentation, the learner will be able to:

  • Understand the mechanism for Commotio Cordis in athletics
  • Identify the signs and symptoms for Commotio Cordis in athletic competition
  • Understand the proper evaluation & emergency care for Commotio Cordis
  • Understand ways to help prevent Commotio Cordis from occurring in athletics


Athletic Training Domain:

Injury/Illness Prevention and Wellness
Clinical Evaluation and Diagnosis
Immediate and Emergency Care

Course Level:

Essential Level

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