Myocarditis, COVID-19 and College Football
College football's 2020 season is now on life support as the Big 10 and Pac-12 have opted to cancel their seasons. Both cite medical information presented to the conference leaders as reasons why playing football amid the coronavirus pandemic is just not feasible. Lately we have been told of a heart condition that can manifest itself in those who have had COVID-19, myocarditis.
Dr. Aloiya Earl joined Southern Fried Sports with Travis Reier to discuss what she knows of the heart condition and whether she believes football can be played in the fall.
"I remain optimistic from my personal stance on it. I believe that a season can be pulled off, I always thought and still think that there could be a season with just spaced out games and organized protocols for testing and dealing with positive cases. Especially in the Power 5, I think the resources that these schools have can definitely pull off some sort of season," said Dr. Earl.
Dr. Earl told listeners that myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and is a known after effect of several viruses, including the flu.
"The concern with athletes though, is that this after effect can be asymptomatic when they're just resting but then when they vigorously exercise it can become symptomatic and feel like chest pains, or trouble breathing, sometimes light headedness. The worst concern is that it can throw the heart into an arrhythmia, basically the heart muscle, when its inflamed, goes rouge and it goes into an arrhythmia," said Dr. Earl.
She explained that this condition has been around for a while and there are accessible ways to screen people for it. She also said that all Power 5 schools should have the capabilities to screen and test for this condition.
Dr. Earl said discovery of this condition would require an EKG screening after an athlete has had COVID-19 and is in recovery prior to returning to play. She explained to listeners that EKG's are not expensive and all Power 5 schools can afford this testing.
"I think the athletes are going to exponentially more safe in the context of a football facility with all the support personnel and the monitoring that they have there every single day than they would be out in the community without their organized season," said Dr. Earl.