Mateo Vazquez ’21
As Covid-19 still causes chaos across the globe, an interesting element that was yet to be explored is the long term health effects that this has on athletes that are in the recovery phase. Trinity is taking steps towards approaching this study as the College explores the effects of Covid on athletes that have already made a full recovery and/or have tested positive for the antibodies. In order to be cleared for any athletic activity, an athlete must first consult with their trainer and go through an ECG heart scan as well as additional steps during their team session to ensure that there would be no risk if the student were to partake in athletic activity.
The difficulty when making policy surrounding Covid is that there are very few research studies that have explored the effects of Covid. One concerning study that has recently come out as a result of the effects of Covid concerns the cardiovascular system of an athlete, which could show signs of permanent interupteration or injury, especially if an athelete recently recovered from the virus. While the severity of injuries vary from person to person, it is still a concern that is worth looking into. After contacting the College’s athletic trainers, the Tripod was informed that the NCAA worked with the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American College of Cardiology to develop recommendations for returning athletes to sport. Trinity adapted those guidelines in helping athletes return to the field.
The process includes an initial screening of athletes for history of past positive Covid tests or symptoms related to the virus. Student athletes must then go through an ECG test and pass this screening.
However, if there are some abnormal results that come back for the test, athletes must see a sports cardiologist for consultation. It is very common for athletes to experience changes in ECG scans and the trainers expect athletes needing a cardiologist be cleared and changes to be considered benign. The Trinity Athletics department pointed to the Hartford Healthcare partnership as effective in streamlining the process for athletes that must be cleared. The College’s athletic trainers have direct contact to the sports cardiology department at Hartford Hospital and allow for a large number of athletes to be screened and cleared as efficiently as possible.
At the moment, the push for all of this research is the lack of current knowledge that exists surrounding Covid as well as the unknown risk of myocarditis and cardiac concerns. These factors have been driving reasons behind canceling the Big 10 and Pac 12 Division 1 athletic competitions this fall.
As data from ECG scans are used alongside other studies, the role of Covid in college athletics will be furthered understood. Until then, it is better to be safe than sorry and take as many precautions as possible to ensure athletes can properly return to the field of play.