here have been several dozen reports that teenagers and young adults have developed a heart problem after being given the COVID-19 vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to a statement from the agency, it is investigating several dozen reports of people who have developed myocarditis after having received the COVID-19 vaccination.
It includes pro and student-athletes. This situation is sidelining them and also raising questions on if and when they can safely return to sports.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” said Mikele Colasurdo, a quarterback at Georgia State University.
“It’s the double whammy of not being able to do it and then having to be around it all the time. It was a lot on me emotionally.”
The South Carolina native tested positive for COVID-19 in summer 2020.
Colasurdo had to have two negative COVID-19 tests before being cleared to play, and he underwent a series of heart screenings.
“I knew there was a problem when I got a call from my trainer,” he said. “He was like, ‘Hey, the doctor wants to meet with you. Your echo wasn’t so good.”
The college freshman laid it all out in a tweet telling followers he’d been diagnosed with a heart condition after battling COVID-19 and would not be able to play football. Doctors told Colasurdo he had myocarditis.
“Myocarditis is an inflammatory reaction in the heart muscle, and the virus actually gets into the heart muscle, itself, and causes inflammation,” said Dr. Dermot Phelan, director of Sports Cardiology at Atrium Health.
He added, “I think if we go back to March of last year, essentially all the news we had regarding COVID, it was bad news. Athletes were kind of in a unique situation because with athletes, obviously, they are pushing the heart, and they are stressing the system.”
That prompted the initial guidance in May 2020, which indicated student-athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 should also undergo what’s known as triad testing.
That is blood tests, which could show heart damage, an electrocardiogram and an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of the heart.
“Our advice has really changed over the last year,” Phelan said. “I mean, last year, I was really worried about this.”
The American Medical Association screened 789 athletes from six major pro leagues. All of them tested positive for COVID-19 and underwent triad testing.
Doctors diagnosed 0.6% with a serious heart condition related to COVID-19.
A similar study of 3,000 athletes in the NCAA revealed similar results.
“So it’s rare, but your question is a really good one because when we do see it, it can be pretty serious,” Phelan told reporter DaShawn Brown.
Vanderbilt University guard Demi Washington was among the 0.6%.
“I felt completely fine,” Washington said. “Maybe just out of shape because I had been in quarantine and isolation.”
In addition to triad testing, Vanderbilt doctors also performed a cardiac MRI that revealed Washington had myocarditis.
“It was really disappointing,” Washington said. “I was so upset and sad because I’ve gotten over COVID. I’m back in the gym. I’m watching my teammates play.”
Nearly two weeks after Colasurdo’s initial diagnosis, he also underwent a cardiac MRI.
His results revealed that it was a false alarm.
Washington sat out her sophomore season to give her heart a chance to heal.
Colasurdo was back on the field midway through his freshman season.
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