Pediatric cardiologist raises questions when it’s safe for kids recovering from COVID-19 to return to sports

NBC29 File.
NBC29 File.(NBC29)
Published: Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A UVA Health pediatric cardiologist is now raising questions over when it’s safe for kids to return to their sports activities after recovering from COVID-19.

“If you’re completely asymptomatic, it’s really hard to believe that you’ve got serious complications related to the heart,” Dr. Peter Dean said.

Dr. Dean says with COVID-19 having major implications on adult’s heart health, he’s concerned if children will experience similar effects if they have severe symptoms. Children who had COVID-19 with prolonged fevers and needed hospitalization should be more cautious when returning back to physical activity.

“If your child passes out with exercise or chest pain with exercise, now even more so is to talk to your healthcare provider and get tested,” Dean said.

Recently, people have been showing signs of myocarditis after catching COVID-19. Myocarditis can cause heart failure and death, that’s why Dr. Dean is encouraging kids with severe coronavirus symptoms to get extra cardiac testing and be more cautious when returning back to sports.

“Myocarditis is something that we’re hearing a lot in the news related to COVID. That’s not a new phenomenon. Basically, any virus can cause myocarditis,” Dean said. “As we look at the causes of sudden death in young healthy athletes, myocarditis is one of the causes. It’s not a huge cause, but it’s something we are concerned about.”

Dean points out that if an elite high school athlete has severe COVID-19 symptoms, they should follow the adult guidelines and talk to their healthcare provider about further cardiac testing.

“They are really pushing their heart and it might be reasonable to do some testing,” he said.

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