False: Athlete deaths are 1700% higher than expected since the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.

By: Arron Williams
October 19 2022

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
False: Athlete deaths are 1700% higher than expected since the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.


The Verdict False

There is no medical evidence that deaths in athletes are related to Covid vaccinations, and the sources used to make the claim rely on flawed figures.

Claim ID b98dd3ca


An article published on October 2, 2022, by the anti-vax website The Exposé attributes a variety of deaths and statistics to COVID-19 vaccines. The Exposé (in Exhibit G) also makes the claim that the death rate amongst athletes has increased by 1700% due to the COVID vaccination. The website had also published a separate article with the same title in July. The claim states that the average monthly number of deaths amongst athletes was 2.35 between 1966 and 2004 and from January 2021 to April 2022 the average was 42. This is tied to the overall claim that COVID vaccinations are killing people.

In fact:

There is no evidence that COVID vaccinations increase the risk of death or cause serious harm. 

The claims of deaths amongst vaccinated athletes were found to be unsubstantiated or false by factchecks from Logically, Politifact and FactCheck.org. The checks found that there is no substantial evidence to suggest these deaths are associated with covid vaccination. Sports cardiologist Matthew Martinez, who works for the a variety of national sports leagues told Politifact, that he was “Not aware of a single COVID vaccine-related cardiac complication in professional sports”. This was further supported by Dr. Michael J. Ackerman, a professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, who told Politifact there is no indication there is an increase in death from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome conditions or any relation to vaccination.

The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) has also confirmed that vaccines “reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19”. In fact, not admisntering vaccines is what can lead to serious health risks. The World Health Organization (WHO) has always maintained that "COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

The statistics from 1966 to 2004 which The Exposé uses are based upon information from a 2006 research paper by the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland. However, these figures are mentioned by the paper itself to not be fully representative of all Sudden Cardiac Deaths (SCD) in young athletes. The research is not a total conclusive report of SCD deaths in the 38 year period and only a list of reported deaths. The research states that the data on SCD in young athletes is underestimated and underreported with a likelihood the deaths caused by SCD are greater than the figures it gave. Another limitation mentioned in the study was that certain sports are under-reported compared to others. The study itself suggests that the figures they gained aren’t the full total and instead that the number of deaths in athletes are likey higher than originally reported. This means that the data The Expose uses is dated and not representative of the reality of deaths, it is possible that the numbers The Expose uses of greater deaths are actually inline with the norm due to the study suggesting its data is based on underreported figures.

To support its claims The Exposé also used information from the anti-vax misinformation website Goodsciencing which lists the deaths of athletes and suggests they are due to the vaccine, however there is no evidence that deaths were caused by vaccination. PolitiFact and FactCheck.org found that several of the listed athletes weren’t vaccinated, had an unconfirmed vaccination status or died for known health reasons and their deaths were misrepresented as being related to vaccinations. Logically has also debunked claims made by this website.

The Exposé is a known anti-vax site that misrepresents data, various previous factchecks have found their claims to be misleading or false. 

The verdict:

There is no evidence that vaccines cause an increase in deaths, and the sources used by The Exposé to gather its statistics are unreliable and misleading. Therefore, we have marked this claim false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before