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Covid-19: the thorny return to competition for high-level athletes


While some athletes fear they will never regain their level, two Bordeaux doctors launched a study in March to study the consequences of Covid-19 on the heart muscle of athletes.

“Before catching the Covid, I passed a battery of tests: I was in perfect health. A week later, I almost died in hospital. ” Ben O’Donnell, 39, was preparing to participate in an Ironman, a high-level triathlon, before testing positive for Covid-19 at the end of February. The athlete was returning from a professional trip when he started to feel the first symptoms, especially fever.

“I was the third case of Covid in Minnesota and the first serious case”, he testifies today. A week after feeling the first symptoms, on March 9, Ben O’Donnell was admitted to the hospital. “Within 24 hours, I was already on oxygen. But my condition deteriorated further. I was finally released from the hospital on April 6, but I needed a walker with oxygen to get around. ”

A difficult period to live for the athlete accustomed to trainings of running, cycling and swimming. And Ben O’Donnell is not

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