Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Athletic Training (MAT)

Degree Name

Health and Human Performance (Athletic Training Program Option)

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Valerie Moody

Commitee Members

Gene Burns, Melanie Dalpias


collegiate, PE, pulmonary embolism, athlete


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Cardiovascular System


Background: Pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that occurs in the lungs, which decreases the oxygen levels in the body. Large or multiple pulmonary emboli can be fatal. This case involves a 20 year old female soccer player (goalkeeper) who was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism during the middle of the regular season. Upon initial assessment, the athlete presented with soreness and redness over her left distal adductors after getting cleated during practice a few days earlier. The initial assessment was adductor tendinitis and treated conservatively. Subsequently, the area became hot, red, and painful and the athlete was removed from practice. Eventually signs and symptoms resolved and the athlete returned to full participation. Several weeks later, the athlete presented with right sided chest pain and visited the campus health center. Differential diagnosis: Musculoskeletal pain, pericarditis, pleuritis. Treatment: The athlete was referred to the emergency room after blood work was performed. The athlete was told she could not exercise for at least three months. During this time, she was placed on anticoagulants. After the season ended, the athlete was told she could no longer play contact sports after a CT scan revealed pulmonary embolism. Uniqueness: Typically, patients with pulmonary embolism will present with chest pain, shortness of breath, and hypoxia. In addition, the incidence of pulmonary embolism is extremely rare in young, healthy athletes with no significant medical history. Conclusion: Although most patients with pulmonary embolism have had surgery or are elderly and generally unhealthy, the majority tend to recover. These patients tend to have recurrent pulmonary emboli in the future after their primary embolism. In a young, healthy population, factors that increase the risk of developing pulmonary embolism are cancer, fractures of the hip or leg, oral contraceptives, major surgery, acute medical illness, obesity, or a sedentary lifestyle. It is critical that athletic trainers recognize early signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism which warrants emergency management. Word Count: 316



© Copyright 2016 Jessica Paske and Valerie Moody