Home News Professional soccer players experienced persistent fatigue for weeks after COVID-19

Professional soccer players experienced persistent fatigue for weeks after COVID-19


August 04, 2022

1 min read


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Results showed professional soccer players in Italy experienced general fatigue, muscle fatigue and reduced metabolic power for several weeks after COVID-19 infection.

Using incremental step and spirometry testing, researchers analyzed COVID-19 symptoms, pulmonary function and metabolic power (Pmet) in 13 male professional soccer players (mean age of 23.9 years) for a duration of 6 months. According to the study, mean peak VO2 consumption among the athletes was 49.7 mL/kg/min before COVID-19 diagnosis, and COVID-19 positivity lasted an average of 15 days.

Soccer player

Source: Adobe Stock

According to the study, all athletes reported general fatigue and muscle fatigue during their COVID-19 infection period. General fatigue persisted in 77% of the athletes (n = 10) for a mean of 37 days, while muscle fatigue persisted in 54% of the athletes (n = 7) for a mean of 38 days. Researchers found no significant changes in spirometric measurements after COVID-19 infection; however, linear mixed-effects modeling found a 4.1% reduction in Pmet following COVID-19 infection.

Researchers noted the athletes recorded “significantly lower metabolic power” in the 10 matches after COVID-19 infection compared with the 10 matches before, “despite covering the same distance per time,” they wrote in the study.

“These findings collectively suggest that long-term ‘general fatigue’ and ‘muscle fatigue’ symptoms may play a relevant role in athletes’ physical performance following COVID-19 and should carefully be considered for a safer and effective return to sport,” the researchers concluded.

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