Sauna Death

Vladimir Ladyzhensky, a Russian athlete, died in the final round of the 2010 World Sauna Championship in Heinola, Finland, after collapsing and being pulled from the finalists’ sauna for the men’s competition. The event was an endurance-contest started in 1999 in which competitors attempt to be the last person to leave a high-temperature, high-humidity sauna. Ladyzhensky was dragged out after collapsing and almost immediately began suffering spasms and convulsions. Timo Kaukonen, a Finnish competitor and five-time champion of the event, also collapsed during the final round and had to be removed from the sauna by medical personnel. Both men were immediately taken to a hospital for treatment. An autopsy determined that Ladyzhensky had ultimately died of third-degree burns over portions of his body, with his condition exacerbated by the pain-killers he had taken earlier in order to increase his ability to endure the intense final round of competition. Kaukonen had to be placed into a medically-induced coma that lasted six weeks, but ultimately survived after having suffered severe burns over 70% of his body’s surface, having scalded his respiratory-system and suffering kidney-failure. The sauna used for the final round of the men’s competition had been heated to more than 230 degrees Fahrenheit and had a humidity nearing 100% saturation due to a constant water-drip on the heating-element. This was significantly more extreme than the saunas used in previous World Sauna Championship competitions. Footage of the 2010 event, including Ladyzhensky and Kaukonen’s collapse and removal from the sauna, has been made available on the Internet. In 2011, it was announced that Heinola was officially cancelling all future World Sauna Championship events.

Submission by Logan Agle. Thank you.

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