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How athletes can return to exercise after COVID-19 infection: New guidance released

Throughout the pandemic, several professional and collegiate sports leagues cancelled major events and seasons, in part to slow the spread of COVID-19, but also due to alarming reports of athletes developing a syndrome called myocarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle — following a COVID-19 infection.

After two years of research, the American College of Cardiology released guidance Tuesday that states the incidence of heart inflammation among athletes after COVID-19 is lower than originally thought, but they still suggest a step-by-step plan to help competitive athletes and weekend warriors alike that will help them safely return to their activities.

“For athletes recovering from COVID-19 with ongoing cardiopulmonary symptoms … further evaluation should be performed before resuming exercise,” the ACC Expert Consensus Decision Pathway, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, states. “For all others who are asymptomatic or with symptoms less suggestive of a cardiopulmonary etiology … additional cardiac testing is not recommended.”

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