SPORTS MEDICINE: Take heart from latest COVID-19-related news | John Doherty

Dr. Sean Swearingen is a cardiologist with Community Care Network in Munster, who works with the athletic department at Purdue Northwest. He explained what “mild” symptoms of COVID-19 are and what they are not.

“It is symptoms that are not in any way inhibiting their day-to-day function and they are for less than 10 days,” he said, “then that is what falls in the category of mild symptoms and they don’t need any further cardiac workup. From the patients I have (had tested), they haven’t had to be hospitalized but they have had relatively significant symptoms where they have been out of commission for several days, haven’t been able to attend their online classes (because) they’ve been so fatigued. To me, I would consider that moderate symptoms.”

Symptomatic or not, cardiac tested or not, all athletes who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 need to be cautious as they return to sport, according to Swearingen.

While I questioned the Big Ten’s 21-day minimum in comparison to the ACC’s 10-day minimum in this space earlier this month, Swearingen finds it more than reasonable.

“The 21-day Big Ten protocol (allows) for a week-long ramp period in the final week,” he explained. “I am a big supporter of this — a gradual monitored increase in activity allows for another layer of safety so that players can be monitored for signs and symptoms before they are putting themselves at risk in full-on competition. The monitored physical activity is just as important as the testing itself and it seems like a lot of people are ignoring that final part in the guideline, the gradual increase in activity.”

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