Report: PSU team doctor says over 30 percent of B1G athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 had myocarditis
A Penn State team doctor says that between 30 and 35 percent of B1G athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 also showed signs for myocarditis. It could be the reason why the B1G opted to postpone the college football and fall sports season in 2020.
Per the Centre Daily Times, Penn State director of athletic medicine Wayne Sebastianelli recently spoke during a State College Area school board of director meeting and provided some insight on the connection between COVID-19 and myocarditis. Per Sebastianelli, between 30 and 35 percent of B1G athletes who tested positive for the virus also appeared to have myocarditis.
Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can be fatal if gone undetected. B1G commissioner Kevin Warren has stated that the uncertainty surrounding the condition was one of the factors in the conference’s decision to postpone the football season.
“When we looked at our COVID-positive athletes, whether they were symptomatic or not, 30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles (are) inflamed,” Sebastianelli said. “And we really just don’t know what to do with it right now. It’s still very early in the infection. Some of that has led to the Pac-12 and the Big Ten’s decision to sort of put a hiatus on what’s happening.”
Sebastianelli went into detail about what that could mean for student-athletes.
“You could have a very high-level athlete who’s got a very superior VO2 max and cardiac output who gets infected with COVID and can drop his or her VO2 max and cardiac output just by 10 percent, and that could make them go from elite status to average status,” Sebastianelli said. “We don’t know that. We don’t know how long that’s going to last. What we have seen is when people have been studied with cardiac MRI scans — symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID infections — is a level of inflammation in cardiac muscle that just is alarming.”
The B1G opted to postpone fall sports and college football until spring on Aug. 11. It is one of four FBS conferences that has decided to not move forward with athletics this fall, along with the MAC, Mountain West and Pac-12.