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East Texas doctor discusses risk for myocarditis for young athletes

One of the effects of getting COVID-19 can be myocarditis which is an inflammation of the heart or heart tissue which in turn could sideline an athlete who gets
Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - One of the effects of getting COVID-19 can be myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart or heart tissue, which in turn could sideline an athlete who gets it for months.

With the beginning of school also means the beginning of fall sports and with COVID-19 still around there is still a risk for myocarditis which can be harmful for a young athlete.

“If you have myocarditis so inflammation of the heart tissue and you go and do some really strenuous exercise there is a very small risk that your heart will respond to the stress in a way that could cause abnormal heart rhythms that can potentially be deadly,” said Dr. Rebecca Peebles, who is a primary care sports medicine physician.

Peebles has been studying the data on myocarditis. She has heard the concerns about getting it from the COVID-19 vaccine but she says that is rare and that the risk of getting myocarditis from COVID-19 is more significant.

“On average depending on the age group you are looking at about four cases per 100,000 patients,” said Peebles. “With COVID infection we are looking at about 300 cases per 100,000 cases so you are actually 80 times more likely to get myocarditis from the COVID infection than the COVID vaccine.”

Peebles advises athletes to get the vaccine to limit the risk of exposing yourself to COVID-19. She also advises parents to watch the symptoms of their athlete if they were to get COVID-19 and to consider getting checked out before returning to play.

“If the infection had fever that lingered for multiple days especially if it was associated with shortness of breath or chest pain that’s concerning, you definitely need to see your physician before you go back to sport,” said Dr. Peebles.

Peebles also advises any athlete that may have minor COVID-19 symptoms but still experiences any chest pain or shortness of breath to get screened before returning to play.

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