How high school athletes return to play after COVID-19 infection

Sports

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – There are many questions surrounding the world of sports during this pandemic. One of the biggest being, what happens after an athlete tests positive for COVID-19?

Returning to play after a COVID-19 infection will be a significant question posed by high school athletes and their families this fall.

MUSC pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Lanier Jackson, participated in creating a guide for how these athletes can safely and effectively make their way back on the field.

The guide addresses three different groups of patients: asymptomatic, moderate symptoms, and severe symptoms.

Asymptomatic – those with only a fever for a couple of days. These athletes are cleared to return two weeks after their positive test.

Moderate – an electrocardiogram, or ECG (medical test that detects heart abnormalities) is an important part of this evaluation. If the ECG reading is normal, athletes can return to play after two weeks. If not, there could be concern for myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle, and further evaluation is needed.

Severe – this includes the multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), which is common in patients that are hospitalized. This distinct circumstance will limit athletes from sports for 3-6 months. They should also continue seeing specialists, including a cardiologist.

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