Student Athletes and COVID-19


Joy Herrera, Staff Writer

Fever, cough, shortness of breath, and chills are some of the symptoms for coronavirus. Although young, healthy athletes are among those least at risk for death from coronavirus, the long term effects of having the virus even after recovery are still being studied.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, a significant portion of patients who recover from coronavirus are impaired in lung capacity, resulting in the need for physical therapy to aid their recovery. Furthermore, recovering patients have reported long lasting fatigue even after recovery. Neither of these long term effects are ideal for anyone but especially so for students who wish to compete in athletics. Even more concerning are the patterns that are emerging in a small portion of athletes who suffer from COVID-19.

Dr. Matthew Martinez, a cardiologist for the New York Jets, the National Basketball Association (NBA) Players Association, and Major League Soccer, is on the frontlines dealing with professional athletes who come down with coronavirus.

“What we’re discovering in early numbers is that the vast majority do well and recover and don’t have any short-term complications, and there are a small percentage that seem to have cardiac involvement,” Dr. Martinez said.

Cardiac complications are among some of the complications which are known to affect even healthy individuals with no preexisting conditions.

Even for those athletes who are lucky enough not to fall victim to the virus, there is still the question of how the lack of training will affect their performance. Some sports like tennis are able to continue practices with safety guidelines, but others like football are not able to. It is simply too risky for many sports to hold large practices as regular testing is both expensive and impractical to suggest at a high school level.

Alongside lack of training for students in school, this also means lack of regular physical therapy which can aggravate or worsen existing conditions. Looking to the future, the lack of regular training at the level athletes are used to will most likely also cause an uptick in injuries as athletes reaccustom their bodies to daily exertion.

Although major league sports like the NBA and the National Football League are returning to some semblance of normality, it is important for student athletes to be cautious in returning to activities as the risk grows further with each bit of information that we receive. Even among these professional sports, there have been instances of athletes coming down with the virus as even the top protective measures are not as effective as social distancing and avoiding large groups. It may be tempting to resume normal outdoor activities, but caution should be at the forefront of any plans to push for athletic involvement.


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