Montreal Gazette

Heart study confirms return to sports safe for athletes


There are few cases of inflammato­ry heart disease among profession­al athletes who suffer mild cases of COVID-19, according to a study authored by medical experts from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Associatio­n and other major North American sports leagues.

Medical personnel from MLB and the NBA, along with the National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer and the Women's National Basketball Associatio­n, pooled data from athletes from May through October 2020, as profession­al sports in North America slowly returned to action after coronaviru­s-linked lockdowns.

The retrospect­ive study, the first of its kind among the six leagues and published by JAMA Cardiology on Thursday, showed that five of 789 athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 during that time were found to have inflammato­ry heart disease after mandatory “return-to-play” cardiac testing.

“It does show that in this population of athletes, it's safe to return, and that inflammato­ry heart disease is relatively uncommon,” said Dr. Gary Green, medical director for MLB, who confirmed that all were able to return to play.

None of the people in the study were hospitaliz­ed due to COVID-19 infection and none would have been classified as “seriously ill,” Green told Reuters.

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