Athletes Must Undergo Thorough Tests after Long Covid to Avoid Organ Damage: Study

Athletes Must Undergo Thorough Tests after Long Covid to Avoid Organ Damage: Study


A new study has suggested that athletes who are returning to training after suffering from a long period of Covid-19 should go through a series of tests before resuming training. The suggestions also include seeking advice from a multi-disciplinary team of specialists before they can be deemed fit to resume exercise. According to the study, which was published in ‘Annals of Medicine’, symptoms of Covid-19 lasting for more than four weeks can be called ‘long Covid’. World Health Organization data says that 25 percent of those infected by the virus experience symptoms for at least four weeks.

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) researchers, in an evidence review, included eight different studies and made recommendations for athletes who were resuming their training regime after showing symptoms of long Covid. According to the researchers, the long-term infection could cause a risk of damage to organs like brain, heart, lungs or kidneys for the athlete leaving them susceptible to myocarditis or pneumonia. Therefore, it was essential for them to undergo tests of their physical health and regular ongoing assessments. These could include blood tests, chest X-rays, ECG or MRI scans.

The researchers also stressed upon the need for perpetual monitoring by a disciplinary team of health experts, while also emphasising on the mental health of the athletes. The authors noted that since Covid-19 is still a relatively unknown condition, there could be health risks even after a person has apparently recovered.

Rosie Lindsay, Postgraduate Researcher at ARU and lead author of the study, said, “Long Covid is a complex cluster of conditions that are still not fully understood. However, we know organ damage can result that people may be unaware of before any medical examination.”

Lindsay added that the athletes must be tested before they resume their training. “This includes a variety of thorough tests, and access to both medical professionals and appropriate health services, including for their mental wellbeing,” she said.

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