Due to potential effects of COVID-19 on the heart, Mankato Clinic physicians recommend that anyone who has been diagnosed with the virus should wait 14 days from the start of the illness and at least seven-14 days after symptoms have resolved before returning to sports and exercise. Additionally, youth and adult athletes should be evaluated by their primary care provider and cleared to play competitive sports and do high intensity exercise.
The medical community is still learning about the long-term effects of COVID-19, but studies show that the virus can cause heart damage. The most common heart problem is inflammation of the heart muscle, known as myocarditis. This can lead to heart failure or an abnormal heart rhythm. Most otherwise healthy people should be able to safely return to sports and exercise after a restriction of activity and medical supervision.
Thomas Finn, DO, Mankato Clinic Sports Medicine, said adults, youth and high school and college athletes should be evaluated by their medical provider before returning to sports and exercise. The provider will look at persisting symptoms, severity of the illness, underlying conditions and age.
“We want to make sure that everyone returns to sports and exercise in the safest way possible. By taking simple precautions such as rest, medical evaluation and a gradual return to exercise with medical supervision, people can safely return to sports and exercise after a COVID-19 infection,” Dr. Finn said. “These precautions are very important in high school and college athletes, as well as adults, who participate in high intensity exercise.”
The Mankato Clinic recommends:
· Do not exercise for 14 days from diagnosis of COVID-19 and make sure you have been feeling better for 7-14 days before restarting your exercise program.
· Youth and adult athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 should be evaluated by their primary care provider to clear them to play competitive sports and do high intensity exercise.