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Int J Sports Med. 2001 May;22(4):268-9.

Respiratory arrest in a male athlete after running through a wheat field.

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  • 1Physiology of Exercise, De Montfort University Bedford, UK.


A male athlete suffered complete respiratory arrest after collapsing at the entrance to an Accident and Emergency Department of a hospital. He was resuscitated and recovered fully after several hours. He had multiple wheals on both legs and had complained of severe breathlessness before collapsing. The athlete had run through a wheat field, upon finding his usual pathway overgrown, which had caused wheat pollen to be released. He had been a mild asthmatic for 30 years and had recalled some mild urticaria after exercise but had never experienced exercise-induced asthma, or hay fever. Subsequent allergy tests showed negative for wheat but positive for house dust mite and grass mix. It is possible that the symptoms were triggered either by the running itself, inhalation of allergens other than wheat pollen, skin abrasions caused by contact with wheat stalks, or a combination of these factors.

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