Findings From Cardiovascular Evaluation of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Collegiate Student-Athletes After Asymptomatic or Mildly Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Clin J Sport Med. 2022 Mar 1;32(2):103-107. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000954.

Abstract

Objective: The risk of myocardial damage after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has been controversial. The purpose of this study is to report the incidence of abnormal cardiovascular findings in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I student-athletes with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Design: This is a case series of student-athletes with SARS-CoV-2 infection and their subsequent cardiac work-up, including troponin level, electrocardiogram, and echocardiogram. Additional testing was ordered as clinically indicated.

Setting: This study was conducted at a single NCAA Division I institution.

Participants: Student-athletes were included if they tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR or antibody testing [immunoglobulin G (IgG)] from April 15, 2020 to October 31, 2020.

Intervention: Cardiac testing was conducted as part of postinfection screening.

Main outcome measures: This study was designed to quantify abnormal cardiovascular screening results and cardiac diagnoses after SARS-CoV-2 infection in Division I collegiate athletes.

Results: Fifty-five student-athletes tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 14 (26%) had a positive IgG and 41 (74%) had a positive PCR test. Eight abnormal cardiovascular screening evaluations necessitated further testing including cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI). Two athletes received new cardiac diagnoses, one probable early cardiomyopathy and one pericarditis, whereas the remaining 6 had normal cMRIs.

Conclusions: These data support recent publications which recommend the de-escalation of cardiovascular testing such as cardiac MRI or echocardiogram for athletes who have recovered from asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Continued follow-up of these athletes for sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 is critical.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sports*
  • Students