Since the beginning of this, we only heard that the virus affects older people or people who are immunocompromised or have some chronic condition or are unhealthy in general, so the general thought is that COVID has no effect on a young fit athlete who undergoes training because he or she has never been the target for the virus.
There really might be some correlations considering the fact that none of the footballers (of course, who are always fit) that caught covid were reported to have been hospitalized.
I responded that it was a very important note and Some studies might be already done on this topic.
So today I am here to give the report of my little research.
What do studies say?
What is known in the medical literature is that viral infections can cause myocarditis, and covid 19 is a viral infection and medics have generally known that it would cause myocarditis. There are 3 studies that I want to write about that paint a clear picture of what is going on
These athletes who met the criteria for myocarditis were not allowed to participate in sporting activities.
What is myocarditis?
Myocarditis is when infective, chemical, or physical harm causes the heart to be inflamed.
How does it cause myocarditis?
When we get infected with any virus, our bodies produce chemicals to fight this infection, the chemicals produced by our body not only fight the infection but also cause harm to the heart.
The athletes were given 3 months to recover from the condition before participating in sporting activities.
The second study's results were very different when compared with what was found in the first study and that showed that 15% of athletes had deadly heart problems after testing positive for the virus.
There was nothing to take home from the two studies.
The second study done on young athletes showed that those who did not have signs and symptoms of covid (asymptomatic carriers) were not at risk of heart disease. This is an important method of screening to put into consideration.
COVID 19 can cause myocarditis and this can be deadly to athletes and is very important to screen athletes that test positive for the virus for myocarditis. The only problem is that the test done is very expensive. Also, some changes that appear as myocarditis on the MRI imaging might be normal adaptations of the athlete's heart to the stress of training.
A third study done on athletes is showed that 800 of those who had abnormal levels of a heart protein known as Troponin, were more at risk and more likely to show abnormal MRI findings seen in myocarditis.
These results are hardly reproducible in the general public because pro athletes are usually fit, they do not suffer the same severity as the general public do, and are not from different age groups as you would find in the general public.
What does the study suggest?
For a person who is sick during the pandemic and engages in one form of strenuous physical activity or the other, rest is required because it can be downright deadly to put too much stress on the heart under bad conditions.
On 19th December 2020, Basketball player Keyontae Johnson collapsed moments after celebrating points during a game. He was rushed to the hospital to receive treatment but what remained on everyone's mind was if it was COVID related. He and his teammates at the moment had tested positive for the virus.
Doctors have released a report that his collapse however was not covid related. While I have no way of saying if it was or was not COVID-related, I feel like this is what can be expected if proper testing is not done.
What other effects can COVID have on an athlete?
Besides all that we have discussed as regards myocarditis, many articles have discussed extensively the effects of coming out of the lockdown and training and its effects on athletes.
One of the main problems is muscle weakness and strain during training. There is much about Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears and all forms of injuries that athletes who can not afford home gyms for training can have.
TO DRAW A CLOSE
COVID is still a big issue, affecting the world today. If you have signs and symptoms you should seek medical care. Athletes are one of the least affected by COVID however, they should be screened for heart conditions before allowing them to continue with training or actively competing.