Even if the school year has just ended, it’s not too early to start thinking about preparing your child for the next school year. This includes planning a sports physique now.
If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past six months, they may need further evaluation that requires them to see their primary care provider. “From COVID-19, you can get myocarditis, which is inflammation of the heart. You can have minimal symptoms from this and still have a sudden cardiac event, such as cardiac arrest,” he said. Marc Knepp, physician, pediatric cardiologist at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
“The test is needed to prevent children from suddenly dying or having a heart event after returning to sports.”
Guidelines for playing after COVID-19
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Cardiology recommend any person diagnosed with COVID-19 not to play sports until a doctor has screened them for cardiac symptoms. These include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
This test should also be done if your child has had mild or no symptoms from the COVID-19 infection. The virus still can damage the heart.
“It’s about protecting children,” says Dr. Knepp said. “Take COVID-19 out of the picture for a minute. When we do annual screening exams, we look for exactly the same things. The number of children who could have a heart event is very, very small, but we can identify a good percentage of them and keep them safe. It is exactly the same here. The principles are the same “.
Extra testing if needed
Viruses other than SARS-CoV2 can cause myocarditis. This includes viruses that cause regular colds or flu.
But the risk of heart problems after a COVID-19 infection is greater, so these new guidelines have been put in place.
If irregularities are found, further tests will be performed to determine the extent and severity of the problem. It is possible that your child will be sidelined from sports participation for a while. How long depends on what the tests reveal.
“We hate doing it. We know how much they want to play and we want to get them back on the pitch or on the pitch as quickly as possible. We will do everything possible to make this happen, ”Dr. Knepp said.
“Most of these guys will be fine. They will be canceled and will immediately return to the sport. But they need this test to be sure so they can go back and be safe. “
Contact your primary care physician
At OSF HealthCare, only primary care providers will perform sports physical exercises on children who have had COVID-19 in the past six months.
“Your primary care provider knows your child’s history much better than an urgent care provider,” says Dr. Knepp said. “They will know if what they are looking at is different from previous visits.”
The goal is to get your child back to the sports they love and to make sure they don’t face a hidden risk.
Dr. Knepp told of an incidence earlier this year when he heard from a pediatrician that he saw a girl who had contracted COVID-19 three weeks earlier and had only borderline symptoms.
“They did an EKG which showed a minor finding. They took her on Monday to check on her and she was fine. She was cleared to return to the field that night, “he said.
If your child is 6 or older and has had COVID-19 in the past six months and needs a sports medical examination, make an appointment with your primary care physician. OSF OnCall Urgent Care and OSF PromptCare can perform physical sports activities on children aged 6 and over who have not had COVID-19. If you don’t have a PCP, find one in your area or make an appointment today