As the immediate future of college football remains uncertain, doctors are beginning to explore what the long-term effects COVID-19 could have on athletes.
Dr. Beau Hawkins with OU Medicine’s cardiology department said it’s far too early to jump to conclusions, but there are concerns in the medical community about heart problems possibly linked to the virus.
“Viruses like to infect the heart muscle and they can lead to inflammation, and at least with other viruses, we've learned that such infections can ultimately lead to long term cardiovascular complications such as heart failure, arrythmias and other things like that,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins said it’s far too early to determine how big a problem this could be, but it is something medical professionals are thinking about.
“As a young person who is athletic, playing sports, participating in those types of activities, it's definitely possible that you can acquire this infection, not really realize it at the time, and then down the road the viral infection can go on to lead to weakening of the heart muscle,” Hawkins said.
According to Hawkins, if COVID-19 behaves like other common viruses, the long-term heart problems would not be a common occurrence, and risk would be low.