Recovering from COVID: Athletes vs. Everyday people

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Matthias Hangst

KSC players sit on the bench observing social distancing and wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus, sit on the bench during the 2nd Bundesliga soccer match between Karlsruher SC and SV Darmstadt 98, in Karlsruhe, Germany, Saturday, May 16, 2020. Professional soccer has resumed after a two-month break in Germany with four games in the second division. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)

Every day around the world, millions of people face different health complications and other medical injuries. This year there is one that people especially need to be cautious of. Covid-19 has run rampant all over the world and is affecting hundreds of thousands of people. With cases ranging from mild symptoms to severe lethal health complications, people have a lot to watch out for because there are multiple symptoms that can lead up to Covid and you can even be asymptomatic. Even after receiving treatment and recovering from the virus, the health complications do not stop there.

The length of a person’s recovery depends completely on their genetic makeup, underlying health complications, and quality of treatment. A person showing mild symptoms could take months to recover fully and someone with severe symptoms could recover rapidly, but since covid is a new virus, the necessary research needed to figure out why this is and everything else we need to know about covid is incredibly challenging but important. Although people who are more fit, healthy, and active in their life tend to have a better chance of recovering quickly and fully, comparing them to an everyday person with normal underlying health complications and other factors could reveal a lot to scientists.

Although athletes are some of the most healthy and in shape people around the world, especially the professionals, they all can fall ill and contract viruses just like the rest of the world. Their recovery process is different though, the ability to return to play must be decided by a somewhat lengthy and a regimented protocol. KSC players sit on the bench observing social distancing and wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus. An athlete must be able to complete everyday activities, walk 500m without excessive fatigue or breathlessness, they must also be symptom-free for 7 days combined with 10 days of necessary rest. Although they must go through this protocol to fully recover,  their situation is still complicated because forcing the body to train too hard during recovery can have devastating results. Pushing the body too soon can lead to a possible relapse, post-viral fatigue, and a weakened immune system which can leave you vulnerable to multiple infections. 

Although both an average person and an athlete need to recover properly, athletes who play and train at the top levels must fully prioritize themselves because the intense physical and mental demand can ruin their bodies. According to peakendurancesports.com, pushing the body too hard after not properly recovering could cause an increased risk of cardiovascular, kidney, and hematological complications, and extreme exercise can heavily stress these organs. An athlete must even have screening done to start the return to play process. If possible, though, an everyday person is suggested to have the same screening if they are hospitalized or have underlying health conditions. Athletes that have gone and returned to play without fully recovering have had compilations with their heart, for example, according to the Washington Post, “two high-level athletes have reported heart issues in the wake of recovery from covid-19.” This is important because without the heart working properly, nothing can.

It is no question that Covid-19 is a very deadly, mysterious, and possibly life-changing virus, but the recovery process is more mysterious by itself. The situation that a person will have to go through is completely different and based on their own bodies, but the one thing in common that everyone has is that it will not be easy but it will be worth it. Although it may be important for athletes to recover properly so they do not destroy their bodies, it is more important for everybody to do the same so they can live a healthy life and return to their everyday life easily and quickly.