Football concerns fueled by heart condition possibly linked to COVID-19

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- At least five Big Ten athletes discovered they have a rare heart condition called Myocarditis, which causes inflammation in the heart.

Athletic trainer from Charleston Southern University, Brad Drake, says after treating student-athletes with Myocarditis several years ago, he understands why leaders in these two Power 5 conferences are stepping in.

“It’s a very serious issue,” Drake said. “It’s one that requires very reduced to very little activity to try and let the heart muscle heal. The reason it’s so dangerous is it can increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest.”

Cardiologist from MUSC, Dr. Brian Houston, says five to seven percent of athletes that die from cardiac arrest, had Myocarditis.

Now, speculation is continuing to grow about Myocarditis being a side effect of COVID-19.

“Usually what happens is the virus itself sets up an inflammation in the heart and the immune system makes things worse,” Dr. Houston said. “So we think COVID-19 or the Coronavirus could similarly cause Myocarditis.”

Common side effects include chest pain, arrhythmia, fatigue and shortness of breath.

He says playing the game isn’t worth the danger it could cause to athletes.

“Even one person getting sick or getting sick to the point of dying or putting anyone at risk of God forbid sudden cardiac death, from my perspective that requires drastic action,” Dr. Houston said.

Other Power 5 conferences are discussing this very thing right now and are expected to make a decision soon.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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