How we train athletes coming back from COVID-19?

This season we are all facing a huge challenge, trying to adjust to the reality of playing professional sports amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

I think most of us are grateful to be able to play the game and compete, even in empty gyms, with imposed travel restrictions and repeated COVID-19 tests. On the “darker” side, we have to deal with the fact that we are being more exposed to the virus during travel and on the court. This increases the danger of getting infected, putting ourselves, our families and the rest of the team in danger.

Unfortunately, despite all the preventive measures that the teams and the League put in place, many athletes and staff members ended up getting infected by the virus. Practices and games had to be cancelled to protect the rest of the members and of course, the patients themselves.

Re-training those infected by COVID-19 poses a new challenge to the medical, as well as the strength and conditioning staff. The athlete-patient face an unprecedented situation where they must stay at home for at least 14 days (in some countries the mandate is 10 days of obligatory quarantine). At the same time, they probably present symptoms and are unable to do any kind of exercise. This complete inactivity combined with the negative systemic effects of the virus resulted in players starting the re-training process from a severe physical disadvantage.

In this short interview with Roman, we discuss some of my experiences in dealing with returning athletes and how we structured our approach.

Note: At some point during the interview, I say that I would worry about the nutrition of the athlete during the cause of the sickness. By this I mean, first, that the number one priority of the patient is get well (something I also mention during the talk), follow the doctor’s directions and not worry about gain weight loss/gain at this point. Second, after the symptoms subside and the doctor clear them, they should definitely need to follow a well structured nutrition plan to help recovery.

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