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With COVID-19 drastically changing the nature of the world, we’ve had to do a complete rethink of the way we do everyday life. One area of life that has been properly hit hard is sport, which has been forced to totally shut down to ensure social distancing and slow the rates of transmission. Now, with various sporting leagues, particularly the NBA, beginning to resume, doctors are concerned that COVID-19 could have long-term health effects for athletes who test positive.
“There are unknown effects it has on lung capacity, unknown effects it has on cardiac health,” an anonymous doctor told ESPN. “What if a 24-year-old catches it in Orlando and, in 14 days, he quarantines and is fine, but then he has these everlasting heart problems? Or he gets winded so easily, or he becomes a little bit too susceptible to fatigue? These are all the unknowns.”
Although all NBA players who test positive are required to undergo a medical screening & a two week quarantine before returning to the court, NBA docs are mostly concerned about the respiratory side of things. Specifically, how intense physical activity could emphasise long-term effects, with NBA cardiologist Matthew Martinezes stating that “The amount of cardiac damage can increase if you continue to exercise in the face of an active infection”.
“The players, the coaches, the medical staff, understand that if a player tests positive, they’re going to need time to clear the infection management, they need additional time to recover, and then to begin reconditioning for their sport,” NBA director of sports medicine John DiFiori said.
The NBA is currently set to restart this week in Orlando at Disney World, with 22 teams arriving this week as players continue to test positive to the virus. The first game is scheduled to take place on July 30.