BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Concerns about long-term complications from the coronavirus prompted the Pac-12 to postpone the fall football season.
The Pac-12 conference announced on Tuesday all fall sports will not be played on time. Medical advisors for the conference helped steer the decision to postpone until 2021.
“It had just been trending away from looking like there was going to be a college football season for a while. It’s still tough,” said Adam Munsterteiger, the Publisher of Buffstampede.com. “It still hurts to think of a fall without Pac-12 football.”
Munsterteiger started covering CU Football in 2003. He says while the school hasn’t announced much since players returned in mid-June there haven’t been many confirmed cases of coronavirus.
“Through sources I know they’ve had some positive tests but it’s been a very low number,” he said. “They know the safest place for their football players is inside the Colorado facility because they’ve had them there since June 17 and they’ve been doing testing periodically and the numbers have been really, really low.”
An ESPN report says the Big 10 conference became concerned after several athletes were diagnosed with a heart issue following a case of COVID-19.
“Myocarditis is inflammation of the muscle tissue of the heart. It can be caused by certain infections, it can be caused by drugs, and it can be caused by autoimmune diseases. COVID is different,” said Dr. Orhan Sancaktar, a cardiologist at Medical Center of Aurora, a leading heart center in Colorado. “It causes the heart to become weak.”
Dr. Sancaktar says he’s treated several patients who had COVID-19 and developed heart issues. Some in older age ranges have died from the complication. It’s believed the disease is stressing the body and causing issues with many internal organs.
“There’s no question that COVID really engages the immune system and really causes a lot of inflammation.” And that inflammation leads to more myocarditis than other infections. People with preexisting conditions seem to be at more risk but we’ve definitely seen who were previously healthy develop that condition. Some people can have long term effects from it. That’s generally very rare, and of course COVID is so new we don’t know,” Dr. Sancaktar said.
More research is needed around the virus and it’s effect on heart disease, especially for top level athletes.
“Could that infection then effect their performance for the rest of their career? Could it take them from being an elite athlete to no longer being an athlete? We don’t know that yet,” Dr. Sancaktar said.