Penn State Doctor Warns of Long-Term Heart Effects in Those Affected By COVID-19

Penn State
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Penn State University’s director of athletic medicine Wayne Sebastianelli has warned of potential symptoms of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, for those who have contracted COVID-19, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.

“We really just don’t know what to do with it right now,” Sebastianelli said, according to the Centre Daily‘s Parth Upadhyaya. “It’s still very early in the infection. Some of that has led to the Pac-12 and the Big Ten’s decision to sort of put a hiatus on what’s happening.”

Penn State University is a member of the Big Ten Conference, which will not be participating in fall sports this semester with the hope of playing them in the spring.

Sebastianelli said cardiac scans of Big Ten athletes with COVID-19 showed “30 to roughly 35% of their heart muscles” indicated symptoms of the condition, according to a report from Sports Illustrated. Although that statistic has since been rebuked by Sebastianelli.

ESPN reported last month that at least five athletes in the Big Ten had developed myocarditis.

The swimming and diving season has not been affected as of yet by the COVID-19 pandemic as some of the teams in the conference have cautiously started returning to practice with a hope of starting competition when the Big Ten gives the go-ahead.


    • Alexis Murray

      Okay, now that I have been down the rabbit hole a bit on this, I am trying to find more information about the ACTUAL study. I believe in science. I believe in GOOD science. (This next statement is not directed at you, Susan ?) I am not here to debate whether the Big10 should have cancelled football or not, I just want to know more about this disease and how it could potentially affect me and my family. Period.

    • Susan Cianflone Scholer

      Alexis Murray I hear you. I just don’t like when a story gets put out there the day after it was retracted. If they wanted to put a rebuttal as to why it’s true, fine. But they did not do that.

  1. Rick Stanfield

    This must be the new style. Print the retraction and refutation of a story and then, print the original story the next day. Just think, I used to complain about the wrong photos they used in stories.

  2. Jason Cronk


  3. Jennifer Brurok

    This is irresponsible to post when it has been clearly refuted. Very disappointing and whoever made the decision to post should be reprimanded and taught journalistic integrity … or at least go through “Swimming World ethics 101”.

  4. Ryan Connell

    Gotta keep the hype up as people are getting restless with permanent lockdown…

    • Patti Kearns Connell

      Ryan Connell Yep. Gotta keep us scared and under control. Good little peasants.

  5. Robert Hayon

    But yet another doctor says no need to worry. Most of the subjects studied are over 50.

  6. Tara Garrett Houser

    So what’s the real percentage – the statement says a lower rate – what’s the lower rate – the retraction doesn’t say 0.

    • Rick Stanfield

      Tara Garrett Houser it’s on another site, but, Ohio State study has 15%, but, still using MRI only.

  7. Pamela Goldsbro

    Perhaps they should have a look at the studies on the affects of steroids on the cardiac system. They might get stats that will be closer to the truth.

  8. Jennifer Williams

    Give me a break? And here goes swimming world making a post that will promote fear hence harm our athletes!
    So disappointing.

    • Ron Buda

      Jennifer Williams I am a masters swimmer and swim coach. There are some REAL issues with the ACE receptors in the heart and with thrombosis in the arteries. Not all, of course, will be afflicted with the same secondary effect. I have faith, though, that the science/medical fields will be able to identify which organs may be affected and administer the correct ACE inhibitor. I think swimming world is trying to be pro-active and let adults know to observe and listen to their own swimmers.

    • Jennifer Williams

      Ron Buda numbers don’t warrant shut down. Just the facts. Read the numbers. The shut down has caused far more damage on all levels! Clearly we disagree. Peace out. I will vote facts… in 2020 ??????

    • Ron Buda

      Jennifer Williams I did mean to sound disagreeable. I feel your frustration and know there are ways to open a pool to practice. My point being that all of us have one more thing to keep a eye on have have knowledge enough to be prudent adults if/when we are needed.

    • Rick Stanfield

      Ron Buda problem with this article is PSU retracted the statements because the doctor quoted preliminary numbers of a study that he had no part of. I have no problems when swimming world puts out information, but, I do have a problem when they post it the day after they retracted the information. There is also serious questions as to the method used to allegedly see cardiomyopathy. While there have been people with any number of secondary complications around the world, it behooves us to expect that agenda driven information be reviewed before publication. I’m this very case, SW had the article debunking this PSU Dr the day before this was posted.

    • Ron Buda

      Rick Stanfield Yes, definitely some ping pong of information. Cardio problems may present in some; a relative with 3 COVID related heart attacks in a coma. Also my heart is a pre condition for me. (I still compete in short triathlons and swimming) My cardiologist and I are in the same vaccine phase 3 trial. I am watching all this closely. Thanks for your input.

    • Kelley LeAnne Tenbarge

      Jennifer Williams what I don’t understand is why you felt the need to make this post political?
      Modern medicine and politics aren’t in the same category.

    • Jennifer Williams

      Kelley LeAnne Tenbarge that’s the problem. You don’t understand. Not being able to provide for your family because of a less than one percent d
      death rate is wrong. Liberties have been taken away. Someone’s fear doesn’t not give them right to take away our liberties and the right to work. And we both know it is an election year.

    • Jennifer Williams

      Ron Buda if someone feels they are risk they have the liberty to stay home. That’s hard to argue looking at the data. The shut down has caused far more damage than the virus.
      Just think of a future documentary…. The damage that the virus has caused or The damage that the shut down cause. The later will be the stories told.

  9. Jim Grazier

    Why is this in Swimming World?

  10. Brian Mezera

    Just stick to swimming, guess i will stop following

  11. Eric Sharpe

    This is the problem. He has already back tracked on these comments. It is now out there and you have to repost. So wrong.

  12. Jessica Bauer

    Weird. No FB fact check for fear-mongering articles that have been prove false. ?