Competitive sport after SARS-CoV-2 infection in children.

Cafiero G; Passi F; Calo’ Carducci FI; Gentili F; Giordano U;  Perri C;   Hashem Said M; Turchetta A;

Italian journal of pediatrics [Ital J Pediatr] 2021 Nov 06; Vol. 47 (1), pp. 221.
Date of Electronic Publication: 2021 Nov 06.

Background: With the gradual resumption of sports activities after the lock-down period for coronavirus pandemic, a new problem is emerging: Allow all athletes to be able to return to compete after SARS-CoV-2 infection in total safety. Several protocols have been proposed for healed athletes but all of them have been formulated for the adult population. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the adequacy of Italian practical recommendations for return-to-paly, in order to exclude cardiorespiratory complications due to COVID-19 in children and adolescents.
Methods: Between April 2020 and January 2021 the Italian Sports Medical Federation formulated cardiorespiratory protocols to be applied to athletes recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. The protocols take into account the severity of the infection. Protocols include lung function tests, cardiopulmonary exercise test, echocardiographic evaluation, blood chemistry tests.
Results: From September 2020 to February 2021, 45 children and adolescents (aged from 9 to 18 years; male = 26) with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were evaluated according to the protocols in force for adult. 55.5% of the subjects (N = 25) reported an asymptomatic infection; 44.5% reported a mild symptomatic infection. Results of lung function test have exceeded the limit of 80% of the theoretical value in all patients. The cardiorespiratory capacity of all patients was within normal limits (average value of maximal oxigen uptake 41 ml/kg/min). No arrhythmic events or reduction in the ejection fraction were highlighted.
Conclusion: The data obtained showed that, in the pediatric population, mild coronavirus infection does not cause cardiorespiratory complications in the short and medium term. Return to play after Coronavirus infection seems to be safe but it will be necessary to continue with the data analysis in order to modulate and optimize the protocols especially in the pediatric field.