Few football players have suffered from the effects of the Coronavirus and its direct impact on their lives, however, signs of long-term effects of the pandemic are beginning to emerge clearly in the football world, with one study indicating that top players have been affected in the long term by the deadly virus.
Several cases of side effects have emerged for Covid-19, some of which prevented the infected player from returning to the pitch as soon as a negative result was given. Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich, who refused to receive the Covid vaccine, missed two months due to lung damage, while Juventus’ Italian playmaker Paolo Dybala said he suffered from “tightness in breathing” when he returned in 2020 after being infected with the virus.
The case of Lionel Messi did not differ from his fellow players, saying he needed “longer than expected to recover” after being infected with Covid during his holiday in his hometown of Rosario.
More serious cases
However, other than these side effects of Covid, the football world has seen more serious cases, Newcastle’s English goalkeeper Karl Darlow spent three days in the hospital, Montpellier winger Salomon Junior Sambia was moved to the intensive care room, and Nantes’ Jean-Kevin Augustin did not start a lot of matches with the first team since 2019 due to Covid-19 post effects.
Within the context of recent weeks, many trainers have expressed concerns about the short- and medium-term effects of Corona.” When players get the virus and come back, it doesn’t happen with just a click of fingers,” said Didier Deschamps, coach of France’s 2018 World Cup winners in Russia. Even if they feel it, it takes some time.”
Decrease in levels of performance
Researchers from Düsseldorf and Reading universities revealed the results of a study of 257 players in the German and Italian football leagues who returned to the pitch after suffering with “Covid-19”, indicating a decrease in the performance of the players as well. The study found that players’ pass success rate decreased by up to five percent and that the virus more seriously affected players over the age of 30.
It also noted that the clubs with the highest number of Covid-19 cases has achieved worse results than its competitors after the return of its players.” So far, the results indicate a permanent change in the player’s abilities,” said James Reed, director of the Economics Department at the University of Reading and a participant in the study.” The majority of players have not been vaccinated (till the study is done) and this is still a complex factor,” he said.”Longer rehabilitation period than flu is needed”
In a more serious context, some reports indicated that some players suffered from heart inflammation, most notably Gabonese duo Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s English striker, and Nice’s Mario Lemina. The two players left their country without being able to participate in the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon to recover from Corona. Emmanuel Orant, medical director of the French Football Federation, said there is no proven link between the virus and the increased risk of heart disease in footballers. Orant found in December 2020 that 2.2 percent of the 350 players tested positive for the virus had a heart problem.”All of them were moderate and disappeared within a few weeks, and it is impossible to say that they are all linked to Covid-19, while at the same time stressing that the players needed longer time to recover from Corona than they usually needed to recover from the flu,” the French doctor told AFP.
“We know that the virus has a short-term respiratory effect” and “with the flu, we can get players back on the field as soon as they get better.”But (with Corona) we need more time in the rehabilitation process.”Given that the vast majority of cases in European countries are now caused by the new mutated variant Omicron, the effects are expected to be much less severe.”We can no longer talk about Omicron the same way we did about the first cases, which were much worse” Orant said.