COVID-19 has caused immense havoc in the entire world, and sports are no exception. Despite the various health protocols, the coronavirus is significantly present in the world of soccer. It has forced many match cancellations and rescheduling, and in some leagues, clubs have no other choice but to play their scheduled games in spite of their depleted squad.
Soccer players train constantly trying to stay fit, they have the best diet any human being could have, they live a healthy life... Nevertheless, not a single person is 100 percent immune to the virus, and neither are they. Some have already been vaccinated, and some are against it and have been protesting against the vaccines even in the public eye.
Over the course of the past two years, many players have tested positive and recovered from the infection - some even multiple times. What several of them have in common is that they have shown signs of serious health issues as a result of COVID. This weekend only, as many as three soccer players have been diagnosed with heart problems after recovering from the coronavirus and testing negative.
At first, Joshua Kimmich of Bayern Munich had to isolate in late November after coming into touch with a positive case due to his lack of vaccination. Eventually, he tested positive, but his return on the field was put on hold owing to a lung condition caused by COVID-19.
Kimmich had previously voiced apprehension about being vaccinated owing to fears and reservations about the vaccination, but doctors discovered liquid in his lungs, forcing him to sit out until 2022. The 26-year-old was even unable to return to training, as octors advised him to rest for 10 days. The German defender claimed he was warned that vigorous exercise might cause cardiac difficulties and have long-term consequences.
Bayern had confirmed that left-back Alphonso Davies tested positive for COVID-19 in early January. The Canada international has not trained with the team since then but he was expected to join the rest of the squad in the coming days.
However, the Bavarians' boss Julian Nagelsmann revealed on Friday that the 21-year-old defender has been ruled out indefinitely due to heart problems. The club established in a statement that Davies has been diagnosed with a heart problem, i.e. an inflammation of the heart muscle. Thus, the player will not train for some time.
Gabon captain and Arsenal striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is among the latest players to suffer from heart problems after overcoming the COVID-19 infection. The 32-year-old star did not receive permission to play for Gabon at the 2021 African Cup of Nations and was forced to miss the Matchday 2 clash against Ghana after being diagnosed with heart problems caused by the virus.
Mario Lemina and Axel Meye
Aubameyang's teammates from the Panthers' national team, Mario Lemina of Nice, and Ittihad Tanger's Axel Meye were also notably absent on Friday. An alarming and worrying fact is that they have also been suffering from cardiac abnormalities.
"According to the CAF medical commission, the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Axel Meye, and Mario Lemina, who just returned from COVID-19, cannot take part in this match. The examinations showed cardiac lesions. CAF did not want to take any risks," said the Gabonese Football Federation in a statement.