Research says coronavirus could cause heart damage, worrying for athletes

Sep 11, 2020, 4:15 AM

PHOENIX — A recent study showed that coronavirus could cause heart inflammation, which could be especially worrying for young athletes, according to experts at Banner Health.

Research published by bioRxiv showed that some COVID-19 survivors had evidence of heart inflammation after recovering from the virus.

“COVID-related myocarditis is a real entity, meaning that people have an infection with COVID-19, and it results in a viral infection, or an inflammatory response in the heart that potentially can cause arrhythmias or structural damage to the heart,” Dr. Steven Erickson, director for Banner’s University Sports Medicine and Concussion Specialists, said in an interview Wednesday.

Cardiologists are recommending student-athletes who had coronavirus symptoms for more than three days see a doctor get an EKG to screen for myocarditis, which causes inflammation of the heart muscle.

Myocarditis can affect the heart’s ability to pump, causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms, which can be dangerous for athletes who play competitive sports.

“We are seeing patients with signs of inflammation and scar formation in their heart even after recovery,” Banner Children’s pediatric cardiologist Dr. Michael Perez said.

Perez said parents should watch for symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, decreased energy levels or passing out.

Experts are also recommending that anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is returning to sports should be symptom free for 14 days and see their primary care physician.

Erickson said athletes coming back to sports after being on hiatus because of the virus should acclimate and ramp up back to where they’re used to competing.

“If athletes want to participate in a team sport, they need to do everything right off the field and on the field to try to prevent them from getting COVID-19,” Erickson said.

Erickson added that includes practicing proper hand washing, masking wearing and not going into large group situations.

“Everybody wants to get back to their normal lives and normal exercise routine and playing on teams, but with education, and make sure that we take the appropriate precautions, so we don’t end up with some long-term issue,” Erickson said.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Deshan Begay, 24, was struck by a vehicle while walking when he didn't have the right of way, polic...

Man fatally struck while crossing I-10 access road at red light in Phoenix

Deshan Begay, 24, was crossing the I-10 westbound access road on Wednesday evening when a vehicle fatally struck him, Phoenix police said.

4 hours ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

5 hours ago

Preston Lord murder suspect Talyn Vigil posted bond and was released from jail on April 12, 2024. (...

Talyn Vigil, suspect in murder of Preston Lord, posts bonds and is released from jail

Talyn Vigil, one of seven suspects indicted in the murder of 16-year-old Preston Lord in Queen Creek, posted bond and was released from jail Friday, authorities said.

8 hours ago

Santokh "Sam" Singh went missing in Gilbert on April 12, 2024. (DPS Photo)...

Silver Alert issued for 79-year-old man who went missing in Gilbert

A Silver Alert was issued Friday for a 79-year-old man who went missing in Gilbert earlier in the day, authorities said.

8 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Get Out The Vote rally ...

Associated Press

Trump pushes Arizona lawmakers to ‘remedy’ state abortion ruling that he says ‘went too far’

Donald Trump urged Arizona lawmakers on Friday to swiftly “remedy” the state court ruling allowing prosecutors to enforce an abortion ban.

9 hours ago

Runesha White, 22, is accused of stabbing a man in the back after he recorded a separate fight on A...

Woman arrested after fight leads to stabbing, shooting in Glendale

A woman was arrested and two people were hospitalized after a fight led to a stabbing and a shooting in Glendale on Wednesday night.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Research says coronavirus could cause heart damage, worrying for athletes