Doctor warns of heart complications in young athletes after COVID-19 diagnosis

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Doctors know COVID-19 can cause heart related issues which can be a real concern for athletes.

As fall sports return, the program director of sports medicine at Dayton Children’s said any athlete returning to sports after being diagnosed with COVID-19 should proceed with caution.

Dr. Lora Scott with Dayton Children’s said there’s a heart condition called myocarditis caused by a viral infection.

Scott said the heart condition is not uniquely caused by COVID-19 but Scott said they’re seeing it more in adult hospitalized patients than they do from other viral infections.

“We don’t have those numbers for young healthy adults and really don’t have those numbers for pediatric athletes, but we know in this older population it’s happening more than with other viruses,” said Scott. “So because of that, we’re being extra cautious when we’re sending them back to sports.”

Myocarditis is when the heart becomes inflamed becuase of the virus and the enlarged heart doesn’t pump normal. She said there have been a few published cases recently in teen and pediatric patients.

“Most every case recovers but it can take 3-6 months to recover and during that time when the heart isn’t pumping normally, there can be dangers to exercise,” said Scott. “There are cases of athletes that have died when exercising with myocarditis.”

She said since there is still so much they don’t know, they are recommending any athlete who was hospitalized with COVID-19 get screened before returning to sports as well as those who didn’t quickly bounce back.

“So let’s say you give it a typical one to two weeks for the virus to run its course and at the end of that they don’t feel well, still feel run down, having some trouble breathing, those patients also need to have their hearts checked,” said Scott.

Scott’s full article on the impact of myocarditis and sports can be found here.

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