Long COVID Rare in College Athletes

By Reuters Staff

November 15, 2021

(Reuters) - College athletes who become infected with the coronavirus are very unlikely to have any lasting effects, a large U.S. study suggests.

Researchers tracked more than 3,500 athletes from 44 colleges and universities and from more than 20 different sports who tested positive for the virus. Only 1.2% reported symptoms lasting more than three weeks, with 0.06% reporting symptoms lasting more than three months, the researchers wrote in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Four percent reported still having problems like shortness of breath or chest pain when they got back to exercising. Researchers found that one in four athletes with chest pain upon exercising had likely suffered some heart effects from the virus, whereas no athlete with exertional symptoms without chest pain appeared to have COVID-19 related heart issues.

"For the vast majority of athletes, this study shows that a return to play is possible without lingering COVID symptoms," study leader Dr. Jonathan Drezner of the University of Washington in Seattle said in a statement.

"But any new chest pain or cardiopulmonary symptom should be taken seriously," he said. "Even if initial cardiac testing is negative after a COVID-19 illness, chest pain while exerting yourself should be evaluated."

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3c4foqA British Journal of Sports Medicine, online November 1, 2021.