A three-year study in Siena has found that professional football players have marked differences in the shape of their hearts.
The issue has been in the forefront in recent weeks with the collapse of Fabrice Muamba and death of Piermario Morosini.
Today the CardioRobur medical study that began in August 2009 between AC Siena and the cardiology clinic in the Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital had its results published.
It involved monitoring the cardiac function of the players over the past three seasons, “allowing excellent results in the area of scientific research,” explained doctor Andrea Causarano.
“We showed that the heart has different cardiovascular characteristics that are peculiar to athletes in top level sport and adapts in a dynamic manner during the season based on the type of training,” added Professor Sergio Mondillo.
“This is important when optimising training to improve performance with great focus on health. These observations were presented at various Italian and European cardiology seminars.
“In football players, the cardiac chambers and muscular mass of the heart are enlarged, with ulterior incremental improvements in the functional capacity of the organ.
“With further tests on stem cells in the youth team players, we also noted how intense training or a sedentary lifestyle provide a different stimulus to the production of stem cells and therefore probably different mechanisms for self-repair.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!