Professional bodybuilder Dallas McCarver died in August at twenty-six years of age, shocking a niche community and leaving many questions. However, on November 28th journalist Anthony Roberts published Dallas’ autopsy, performed by the Palm Beach County Medical Examiner. The documents provide rare insight into the extreme amount of performance-enhancing drugs some bodybuilders are willing to use, as well as the potential consequences of that decision.
Websites covering the death such as TMZ and NY Daily News initially reported the likely cause was choking (with a vague reference to insulin as well,) based on a recording of a 9-1-1 call by Australian professional bodybuilder, Joshua Lenartowicz. In the conversation with dispatchers, Lenartowicz states he believes Dallas’ airways were blocked and attempted CPR to no avail as he waited for medical assistance to arrive.
An autopsy was performed the day after Dallas’ passing but not released until requested by Roberts. According to the medical examiner, choking had little to do with Dallas’ death; instead, the official cause was a cardiac event related to “severe concentric left ventricular hypertrophy and coronary artery atherosclerosis” or growth of the heart and blockage of its passageways. The appearance of choking was due to heart issues that forced his body to lose its ability to function as he happened to be eating.
The manner of death is listed as ‘Natural’ with use of steroids a contributing condition, noting the likely synergistic impact of his genetic dispositions with steroid use. Dallas had a known family history of cardiac issues. Before death, he was observed to be hypertensive and have poor cholesterol. Following his collapse onstage at the Australian Arnold in March, he was made aware of his heart conditions with an electrocardiogram that had unusual results.
Steroids have many effects on the body, positive and negative, that typically increase as the amounts used increase. A typical male testosterone level ranges between 250-1,000ng/dL, at the time of Dallas’ death he was at 55,000ng/dL, fifty-five times normal levels. If someone has a genetic disposition that could be triggered by steroid use, these quantities would likely be enough to do so. Combine this with high body weight, training, diet, HGH, insulin, it becomes taxing on the body and manifests not only as enlarged muscles but enlarged organs.
- A typical male heart weighs ~300gm but up to 500gm in athletes, Dallas’ was 833gm.
- A typical male kidney weighs 125gm-170gm. Dallas’ were 452gm & 503gm with noted hardening.
- A typical male liver weighs 950gm-1,800gm, Dallas’ was 4,593gm
- Typical male lungs weight 450gm (right) & 400gm (left,) Dallas’ were 617gm & 619gm.
- Also of note, though not attributed to his death, was the presence of thyroid carcinoma, cancer made of cells with development linked to HGH.
The year leading up to his death had been one of the most monumental of Dallas’ life. He’d move to Florida as part of a supplement sponsorship, finish as runner-up at the Arnold Classic in Ohio, and begin dating WWE superstar Dana Brooke. From the outside looking in, it would appear Dallas was on a positive trajectory, but below the surface was a lot of stress and damage unaddressed.
DALLAS MCCARVER AUTOPSY