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Find Out How Healthy You Are

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You may not recognize his face and certainly, his was not a household name like that of James Gandolfini, the star of the hit HBO series the Sopranos. But Christian Benitez’ fate was the same as that of Gandolfini’s in that both men died of a heart attack; both unexpected.

I don’t know much about soccer. I’m not familiar with the stars of the game. I was watching ESPN and saw the story of this young man who had succumbed to an apparent heart attack. The people in the story who knew him were devastated and in shock.

Christian Benitez was the top scorer in the Mexican soccer league last year for his team, Club America. He had just signed with a Qatari team, El-Jaish and had travelled to Qatar to undergo a physical before completing the move. By all accounts, Benitez was in great shape – you have to be to play soccer at that level.

Have you seen these guys run and run and run?

Reports are that he complained of stomach pains shortly before his death. He was taken to a hospital where he died.

World class athlete. New contract. “High moral character.” Admired by fans and teammates alike. He was 27.

None of that matters to the dreaded heart attack. It takes all prisoners and apologizes for nothing.

I, unfortunately know the routine. I’ve told you my story many times. But I think my story and that of men like Gandolfini, Benitez and others who have fallen victim to heart attack’s indiscriminate ways bears retelling. Let them serve as reminders of the seriousness, and in many cases, the randomness of its actions.

No one anticipated Benitez’ death. Few people ever think a young, presumably healthy man is going to die young. But because it happens, because we know it happens we have to be wiser. We have to do all we can to make sure that we’ve done all we could to prevent heart attacks from finding us and changing the lives of those we love.

That’s what they do – they disrupt and they forever damage the psyche of those who love us and will miss us. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not blaming the people who have died or fallen ill. Maybe there was nothing they could have done. But those who are fortunate to have lived this life free of heart disease or any other serious health problems – so far – take the time today to get checked. Find out how healthy you really are…or are not.

You owe it to the people in your life to do the right thing.

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Eric Von is a former radio talk show host and a publisher of Brain Brawn & Body ( You can contact Eric at


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Guest Tuesday, 23 January 2018