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SA researcher leads international Covid-19 study

Published Nov 6, 2020


CAPE TOWN - South African renowned sports Physician, Professor Martin Schwellnus has been tasked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to compile guidelines for doctors treating athletes recovering from Coronavirus.

Preliminary findings found that about 50 percent of all acute illnesses in athletes, during competitions and tournaments, affect the respiratory tract. I

t was further found that some infections, such as Covid-19, negatively affect multiple organs in the body, which can cause a drop in exercise performance and increase the risk of medical complications occurring during exercise.

"In returning to sport, it could result in medical complications. And to date, we don't really know what these are for Covid. And so, the focus of the project is to investigate what happens in an athlete when they had Covid and how does the body heal and respond," Schwellnus told Voice of America.


The work is being carried out under the auspices of the University of Pretoria's Sport, Exercise Medicine, and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI), through the IOC Research Center in South Africa, initiated the international AWARE Research Study as part of this work.

The project includes data from the Covid-19 Recovery Clinic for athletes.

Meanwhile, Tokyo's ability to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic and stage next year's Olympic Games safely will undergo a major test this week with gymnasts from four nations gathering in the Japanese capital for a friendly tournament.

The meeting on Sunday (November 8) featuring 30 gymnasts from Japan, the United States, China and Russia, marks the first international event at a Tokyo Olympics venue since the Games were postponed in March due to the pandemic.

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