Bodybuilders We Lost Too Soon. Why Have So Many Bodybuilders Died In Recent Years?
The last two decades have been brutal for bodybuilding. In August 2017, the bodybuilding community lost a young and talented Mr. Olympia newcomer, Dallas McCarver. Just a few weeks later, the incredibly unique larger-than-life YouTube phenomenon, Rich Piana, passed away. The loss of these two bodybuilders came as a shock to many. Dallas McCarver was only 26, and just beginning his professional bodybuilding career. Rich Piana was 46, but his personality was so dynamic that it’s still difficult to imagine for many that he’s gone. Unfortunately, the loss of McCarver and Piana are not isolated incidents in the sport of bodybuilding. The fact is that there is a trend of bodybuilders dying young due to kidney and heart-related events. But why, exactly?
There is a debate over what is occurring in bodybuilding that is leading to the high rate of catastrophic health events. Some are quick to point to steroid abuse, while others theorize that insulin and diuretics are to blame. The answer isn’t so simple – extreme diets, drug use, and high body mass over a long period of time can contribute to health problems, and they’ve all become more and more essential to bodybuilding at the elite levels. However, every bodybuilder’s story is different and it’s important to look at each case individually while looking for patterns.
Let’s look at the circumstances under which bodybuilders have passed over the last 20 years, and you’ll quickly see there are too many factors to justify pointing the finger squarely at anabolic steroids. Undoubtedly, steroid abuse may be a contributor in some cases, but there are other aspects of the bodybuilding lifestyle that must be considered.
At just 26 years old, Dallas McCarver was a phenomenon – the bodybuilding had high expectations for Dallas, and many thought he would eventually be a top contender for the Sandow. To the shock of many, news broke on August 22nd, 2017 that McCarver had passed away suddenly. McCarver’s girlfriend, WWE Superstar Dana Brooke, told TMZ that the young bodybuilder was found unconscious. It was later determined that McCarver had choked on food. However, given that it is extremely uncommon for a young, otherwise healthy man to choke on food, many people aren’t satisfied that explanation.
Adding fuel to the controversy is another incident that occurred at the Arnold Classic Australia just a few months earlier. McCarver was in the middle of a posedown with three fellow competitors when he began rapidly fading and nearly collapsed on stage. A stage attendant rushed to his aid., and his fellow competitors stopped to help escort Dallas off the stage. Many feel this suggests there was more occurring with McCarver’s health than what has been revealed to the public. (Continues on Page 2)