New study of COVID-19 brings forth dangers of resuming professional sports


GRAPHIC BY DENISE THUONG

By BRYCE ADDISON M. PINEDA

STAFF WRITER


Will this new development in COVID-19 suspend ongoing sports seasons?


A new study conducted at Ohio State University advises athletes recovering from COVID-19 to test for heart inflammation before returning to the playing field. The research shows that college athletes with mild to asymptomatic cases of the virus showed signs of heart problems even after they recovered.


In the study, scientists conducted an MRI scan on 26 of the college’s athletes recovering from COVID-19. Of the 26 athletes, four showed symptoms of myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscles), 12 showed mild symptoms of the virus while the rest were asymptomatic.


The objective of the study was to use cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging technology to detect myocardial inflammation in athletes to find out those who would be at high risk if they returned to competitive play. The athletes who were part of the study ranged from a variety of sports (i.e. basketball, football, lacrosse, soccer) and tested positive for COVID-19 between June and August.


This recent development in epidemiology research begs the question: Should the sports season be moved to a later date in order to ensure the health and safety of the players?


If the season were to continue as normal, there would be a higher possibility for professional athletes to contract the virus and spread it to other players. The worst case scenario that could arise from this situation is that they would develop severe myocarditis, forcing them to undergo heart surgery and jeopardizing their athletic career.


The postponement of the current season, however, would lower the chances that an athlete would need to seek medical treatment, as the spread of COVID-19 would be greatly diminished.


Along with the fact that it would protect the health and safety of professional athletes, postponing the season would be beneficial to the community as a whole as it would correspond with social distancing guidelines. After all, is the viewers’ entertainment more important than preventing the spread of the global pandemic which we are facing?


Despite this information and most people’s support on the decision to postpone the current season, a small minority of sports fans still feel that the current season should continue as planned. They are not the only ones with this belief; major league sports committees showing no desire to put a halt to current seasons in progress.


For example, the National Football League (NFL) season started last Sept. 10 with 32 teams competing. By having this many people present at one event, the risk of spreading the virus rises. Shown through the results of the recent discovery of the scientists, the players are at a higher risk of developing a coronary disease which would put them at risk for participating in sports-related activities.


Although the discovery of this new side effect that COVID-19 has on certain individuals may possibly rid us of our sports entertainment, it helps us understand and leads us closer to the discovery of a cure as we learn more information about the effects that this disease may have on people.


Overall, it would be beneficial for professional athletes if the current season were to be halted for the time being. Through postponing the current season, the curve can be flattened sooner and the athletes would be at a lower risk of contracting a heart disease which could possibly risk their entire career.


Better to postpone the season for now than to not be able to see our favorite athletes on the playing field again.


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