Second autopsy confirms that Gaines Adams had enlarged heart

The initial autopsy conducted following the sudden death of Bears defensive end Gaines Adams revealed that Adams suffered from cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart.

His family requested a second autopsy. 

According to Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times, the procedure performed at a different facility confirmed the prior conclusion.

Adams was the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft.

7 responses to “Second autopsy confirms that Gaines Adams had enlarged heart

  1. Makes me wonder if the Bucs (and Bears, for that matter) didn’t examine this enough before the draft (for Tampa) and before the trade (for Chicago).

  2. Extensive article in todays Chicago Suntimes. Check it out, it’s an insightful article:,CST-SPT-bear19.article
    The standard EKG wouldn’t pick up an enlarged heart (and it’s not uncommon for athletes to have enlarged hearts). Because of Adam’s physique, and no heart problem history (and probably none in his family either – but would an athlete tell a prospective employer that his family had a history of heart problems when he’s on the verge of becoming a multi-millionaire?) – nobody would think he’d have heart problems at 26.
    Furthermore, 1 in 500 people have an enlarged heart, and most live a normal life.

  3. @PGHDON. These things are not caught because almost all highly trained athletes have enlarged hearts. It is a completely normal response to intense training. The ability to see the difference between a healthy enlarged heart and a pathologically enlarged one is only obvious at autopsy (encouraging, huh?). If you or I, as beer drinking, nacho-cheese eating, weekend-warrior type athletes showed up at a physical with an enlarged heart, we’d be diagnosed straightaway. However, with athletes, it is much more difficult with current testing. My condolences to the family, and I hope that they are all being tested for enlarged hearts as well. The degree of co-occurrence among first degree relatives is high.

  4. I feel badly for Adams’ family. I assume that they’re requesting a second opinion because enlarged hearts are a symptom of steroid use. It seems to me that his family didn’t want to think that his heart was damaged by actions of his own. This was their last-ditch effort and it didn’t end well.
    I don’t know how Gaines died and I feel nothing but sadness for his loved ones, but I can’t think of another reason for his family to request a second autopsy if they feel that enlarged hearts are normal for athletes as people here have stated.
    RIP Gaines Adams

  5. I have HCM. It took not only EKG and Echo, it took MRI to diagnose mine. My specialist (at the Mayo Clinic) told me that she had just diagnosed a patient with HCM that they never would have suspected except his daughter had it. It is possible Adams family has it and they have not been diagnosed yet. The gene is in one of his parents – guaranteed.
    Because my father had it I received annual Echos. They tracked the thickness of my ventricular septum. I was allowed to continue physical activities and participate in sports. After an Echo in July that cleared me I ended up in the ER in August. In September the MRI showed I had a clinically diagnosable case of HCM. In October they implanted an internal defibrillator/pacemaker.
    The “annual physical” would have cleared me this summer. This fall, I nearly died and I was being monitored. Symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue following exertion would be ignored by a pro athlete.
    I don’t have an answer except more regular screenings and awareness.

  6. Phillywest…. if you saw Anthony Adams on the Bears next to Gaines Adams, you would never think Gaines would be the one that would die from cardiac arrest.

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