According to ESPN’s Paula Lavigne, a recent study of Big Ten athletes found a higher rate of diagnosed myocarditis tied to COVID-19 than previously documented in a past study.
As part of a study published in JAMA Cardiology, researchers performed cardiac MRIs on 1,597 Big Ten athletes who had tested positive for COVID-19. Of that group, 37 had myocarditis, an inflammatory heart condition.
That percentage (2.3) is more than triple the rate from an April study for Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association. In that investigation, 21 of the 3,018 athletes (0.7 percent) showed signs of heart inflammation.
Prior to spreading to pandemic levels, COVID-19 was a novel virus which made medical professionals unsure as to its long-term effects on those who once carried it.
Dr. Lawrence Rink, a cardiologist who has worked as a team doctor at Indiana University for 40 years, also explained how the JAMA Cardiology study also raised questions about how to examine the possible risk of heart conditions such as myocarditis.
“Unfortunately, from our study we show that symptoms do not help us very much,” Rink said (via Lavigne). “I won’t say symptoms are of no value. But they did not pick up the majority of our cases of what we were calling myocarditis.”
After being diagnosed with myocarditis, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez missed the entire 2020 MLB season.
The left-hander explained to the New York Times‘ James Wagner that before realizing he had COVID-19 or myocarditis, he “felt like I was 100 years old where you need help getting out of bed.” The 28-year-old also struggled to hold down any foods or fluids, which caused him to lose 20 pounds in 10 days.