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Athletes need patience after infection

EActually, Jens Wagener only had a moderate course. The 52-year-old did not have to go to the hospital or to the ventilator when he contracted Covid-19 in mid-April. Instead, ten days of bed rest. “I found it intense,” he admits. Violent, but not life-threatening. Fourteen days after the end of the symptoms, the amateur triathlete trained again for the first time.

“After that I just lay in bed for two or three days, the muscle pain was so bad.” So recovery again. Then the next attempt to train, this time just cycling for half an hour. But the pain stayed. “I tried four or five attempts, it always went haywire.” Tiredness was also a constant companion. To this day, sport is out of the question for Jens Wagener.

Wagener, 52, from Gelnhausen, is one of an estimated two million people in Germany suffering from Post-Covid-Syndrome (PCS). That’s about five to ten percent of those infected. As a reminder: The generic term for symptoms that still occur or recur four weeks after infection is Long Covid. From three months after the infection one speaks of Post Covid. In addition to fatigue and shortness of breath, the most common symptoms are muscle pain, chest pain and “brainfog”, i.e. a “foggy brain”.

Your own body image can be deceiving

Experts from science and sport discussed questions about the sporting comeback after a corona infection on Monday evening in Frankfurt’s Waldstadion. The event, which took place as part of a scientific conference of the German Health Centers, was organized by Andreas Zeiher, Professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University Hospital in Frankfurt. Around 50 interested people had gathered, including many with their own PCS history.

The most pressing question right at the beginning: When can the running shoes be laced up again and the racing bike taken out of the basement? “You should take a five-day break after a mild infection, and two or three days longer if the symptoms are more obvious,” says sports cardiologist Martin Haller from Munich. For unvaccinated people, the number of recommended rest days doubles. “Athletes should not underestimate Covid-19, even if they had no symptoms.”

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