HealthWatch: Warning – COVID-19 and Athletes’ Hearts

Health Watch

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — As schools are getting back to full in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, school sports are also making a comeback. But before your teen gets back to the swing of things, will you get your child the COVID-19 vaccine? A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation says nearly one in four parents will definitely not. Ivanhoe has the details on why that can spell trouble, especially for student athletes.

There are more than eight million high school student athletes in the U.S. Of those students …

“One in 300 will carry a form of cardiovascular disease that predisposes them to have a risk of sudden cardiac arrest,” explained Gul Dadlani, MD, Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

And having COVID could put them at greater risk including those who never had heart problems before.

“COVID can affect the heart and you don’t have to be that symptomatic to have issues within your heart muscles,” continue Dr. Dadlani.

A study from The Ohio State University found 15 percent of athletes who had mild symptoms of COVID, or were asymptomatic, showed signs of heart inflammation as they recovered. Overexerting the heart while it’s inflamed can lead to major complications, sudden cardiac arrest, and even death. Watch out for chest pain, shortness of breath, and dizziness after the quarantine period.

“Those are always red flags that warrant a follow-up with their pediatrician and/or pediatric cardiologist,” Dr. Dadlani stated.

Also, make a graduated return to play. Don’t push yourself to practice or play right after COVID recovery. Check with your doctor to see if the heart inflammation has cleared before returning to play.

Another recommendation is to perform a heart EKG on athletes before they even take part in team sports. This screening is typically not included in a sport physical but doing one may find heart abnormalities that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest or even death. Recent research shows a rare side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine is heart inflammation, but CDC officials say the benefits of getting the COVID vaccine still outweighs the risks.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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