Wed | Nov 25, 2020

COVID-affected athletes should get ECG – Wright

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2020 | 10:10 AM

Sports medicine specialist Dr Paul Wright is advising Jamaican athletes who contract the coronavirus disease to get an electrocardiogram (ECG) examination before returning to competition.

A recent study done at Ohio State University in the United States showed that 15 per cent of college athletes displayed signs of heart damage after testing positive for COVID-19.

Wright told The Gleaner that there is not enough information on the effects of the coronavirus on the human body, but to contain the virus locally, more interest should be placed on persons who are transmitting the virus to others unknowingly.

“We now know that people who contract the virus, months and weeks later, show signs of cardiac irregularity, based on ECG findings of those who were tested in March, April and May,” Wright said. “It is, therefore, vital that every athlete in Jamaica, who has tested positive for the coronavirus, get an ECG that is reviewed by an expert before being allowed to resume sports.

“This initiative must start at the ministerial level. We cannot expect the local organisations to do it, and it must be done at the highest level and be mandatory. It cannot be that it can’t be afforded, so it will not be done, which is what most local sporting organisations are going to say, because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the problems with their own economic circumstances.

“With time, the virus is mutated and we are now faced with problems with vaccination. If the virus keeps mutating, there will be nothing to vaccinate against. Those of us who are waiting on vaccination as the beginning of the end of the pandemic don’t understand virology and how viruses work. So, we have to just make sure we minimise the people who contract the virus by identifying and isolating persons who are asymptomatic,” Wright noted.

National cricketer Dennis Bulli is one of the few sporting personalities in Jamaica to publicly confirm that they contracted the virus.

Bulli, who described his experience as the worst thing he has had to endure, also warned his colleagues against rushing back into action after suffering from the virus.

“As athletes, we think we should get back out there as soon as possible, which I would not advise. After contracting the virus, you must remain patient and take as much rest as possible. A lot of people think that you need to fight COVID-19, but that will make the situation worse,” Bulli said.

“When I just got better, the doctor gave me three weeks to not play any cricket or be active in general,” he added.“I started to walk for about a week and a half, then I started jogging until I was able to do some intense workouts. At first, when I started training again after recovering from the virus, I was easily tired, because one of the effects is fatigue. I had to work on my immune system by taking a lot of vitamin C, and I was drinking more than eight glasses of water to flush out my system.”

After missing the Caribbean Premier League in August, Bulli is using the break from cricket to remain healthy and work harder during training, in efforts to make the most of his season next year.

Athena Clarke