High school teacher who collapsed during trail race died from cardiac arrest

A GoFundMe has raised more than $76,000 for his wife and two young sons.
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The Eagan High School teacher who collapsed while running a trail race last month died from cardiac arrest.

The medical examiner's report says 41-year-old Jon Mathson's cause of death was "natural cardiac arrest during exertion due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease." He had no previous medical history.

Mathson was running the 25-kilometer Superior Spring Trail Race on May 20 when he collapsed on the trail 3-4 miles from the finish line. Runners rushed to help Mathson and first responders performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mathson had no previous medical history, and was a three-time finisher of the Superior Spring Trail Race.

Since his death, people have raised more than $76,000 for his wife and two young sons, according to the GoFundMe page.

What is atherosclerotic coronary artery disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic, atherosclerosis happens when plaques (fats, cholesterol, etc.) build up on the artery walls, which restricts blood flow. It can lead to complications like coronary artery disease, which is when the arteries near your heart narrow, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says.

Coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease in the U.S., killing more than 370,000 people every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Do runners die a lot?

A Forbes story from 2014 said sudden cardiac death while running is a rare phenomenon. Research shows there are two or fewer deaths per 100,000 marathon runners in a given race, the publication noted.

Typically a runner's death isn't related to the race, but an existing cardiac condition they weren't aware of, Forbes said.

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