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Minsk, Belarus, April 3, 2020. Staff check the temperature of a fan before the match - REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko
The coronavirus shows no partiality in it’s spread. While devastating to the elderly population, it infects even the fittest athletes. Though those with underlying medical conditions fare worse when infected, the virus causes even previously healthy people to become quite ill. On the other hand, the disease is barely noticeable in some people. The tricky thing is that there is no way to predict how a person will react to the virus.
Knowing that responses to the virus are unpredictable, the chances are still high that athletes who fall ill with the coronavirus will need rehabilitation to return to sport. The coronavirus attacks all bodily systems, but primarily affects the lower respiratory tract. While the disease process presents with a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting, shortness of breath is the hallmark complaint. The compromise that occurs in the lungs during the active disease may have lasting effects after the patient gets well.
Doctors in Hong Kong recently (March 13, 2020) reported the findings of the first follow-up clinics of recovered Covid-19 patients(1). They suppose that some recovered patients have lost between 20% to 30% of their previous lung function(1). These reports come after a review of a small population, about a dozen or so patients, of which around one-quarter had shortness of breath during functional activities despite disease resolution. The doctors report that lung scans of recovered patients also reveal substantial lung damage. There was no mention as to whether these patients were previously mechanically ventilated or not.
Source: Post-Covid-19 rehab for athletes: start with pulmonary function - SportsInjury