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Conor Murphy, a medical student in the Class of 2018 at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, spent the summer of 2015 helping a world-renowned researcher uncover the mystery of why some marathon runners suffer sudden cardiac failure. Conor worked with David Webner, MD, director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program and Running Medicine at Crozer-Keystone Health System, medical director of the Philadelphia RockNRoll Half Marathon and team physician for the Philadelphia Union major league soccer team. Dr. Webner’s research seeks to identify common risk factors shared by runners who have survived sudden cardiac arrest during a marathon. Their goal is a screening tool to prevent heart attacks. “No one would think marathon runners are at risk for heart attacks. They train so hard and so long to make it across that finish line,” Conor said. “If anything, you’d expect them to fall from dehydration. It’s shocking that some suffer cardiac failure, being so healthy.”

“This research is pretty much spot on what I want to do,” said Conor who played soccer in college and enjoyed cardiology the most of all his classes at Geisinger Commonwealth so far. He found the opportunity with Dr. Webner by being proactive and reaching out to prominent sports medicine researchers. Dr. Webner is excited to work with Conor and looks forward to building his skills in this area. He said, “I’m glad Conor will be spending time with sports medicine this summer. We hope to give him some experience with this particular research project, not only regarding the subject, but also with respect to the entire process of medical research from a clinician-scientist perspective.”

Conor grew up in Sayre and graduated from Towanda High School in 2010 and received a bachelor of science from York College in 2014. He hopes to eventually return to the Northern Tier and practice sports medicine.
Conor Murphy