12:08 PM

For NBA players who get coronavirus, potential lingering heart issues concern doctors

ESPN discusses the potential lingering effects of COVID-19 that may follow pro basketball players who tested positive for the virus, according to experts including John P. DiFiori, MD, FASCM, chief of Primary Sports Medicine at HSS and director of Sports Medicine for the NBA.

While each case will be handled based on its own needs, Dr. DiFiori said the timeline for any player to return from a confirmed positive case is at least two weeks. "Everyone needs to understand that if someone were to test positive, it's quite likely that they won't return to the court for a minimum of two weeks - minimum," he noted. “It may be even a little longer than that, depending on the individual circumstances, and then you need some time to get reconditioned.”

Dr. DiFiori continued, "Anyone who's been out of training for two weeks is going to need time to recondition. These things are important for everyone to understand. The players, the coaches, the medical staff, understand that if a player tests positive, they're going to need time to clear the infection management, they need additional time to recover, and then to begin reconditioning for their sport.”

Dr. DiFiori said that much of what the league and its partners have learned about how the virus affects the heart is derived from studies of patients who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. "That data does show that there are probably two different ways that the virus can affect the heart," he explained. "One of those is a direct effect of the virus itself on the heart muscle and the heart function, and the other is sort of an indirect response where the virus stimulates a massive inflammatory response, and that inflammatory response can affect heart function." However, there is no reason to believe that any athlete is at higher risk for cardiac complications related to COVID-19 than anyone else. "There's no reason that we know that would suggest that right now,” said Dr. DiFiori.

Read the full article at ESPN.com.