After COVID-19, athletes at lower risk for developing myocarditis than originally thought

Football Practice
Posted at 1:39 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 11:01:21-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Doctors at Saint Luke's Health System said there is research which shows athletes are at a lower risk for developing myocarditis after having COVID-19 than initially thought.

Myocarditis can weaken the heart as it causes inflammation of the muscle. The condition can lead to heart failure and even sudden death.

Dr. Anthony Magalski, a cardiologist at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, said the news is a positive development for athletes who have contracted COVID-19, in terms of dealing with longer-term symptoms.

Magalski said the number of athletes who develop myocarditis after having COVID-19 may be as low as 2% to 3%.

The cardiologist said they now have a set of recommendations for athletes when it comes to getting back on the field or court, including a 10- to 14-day rest period followed with a reevaluation by their team's doctor or primary care physician.

"Based upon those findings, they may get a couple of other tests, such as an electrocardiogram or an ultrasound," Magalski said. "But in the vast majority of cases, athletes will recover, be asymptomatic, and be able to return to play in a reasonable period of time,"

Major symptoms to watch out for are unusual shortness of breath, chest discomfort and/or irregular heart beat.