Getting kids checked after COVID-19 and before resuming sports

A child who had COVID-19, perhaps even without symptoms, can be at risk returning to exercise and sports.

Exercise after recovering from COVID-19, even in kids who had mild symptoms or no symptoms, can be risky, especially since the coronavirus can strike at the heart muscle.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends kids, including adolescents, who tested positive for the coronavirus in the past six months see their pediatrician before resuming physical activity. Kids have to be at least 10 days past the day of the positive test or onset of symptoms for a return-to-play physical.

The pediatrician will focus especially on your child’s heart, including any chest pain, shortness of breath, new palpitations or fainting.

Norton Children’s Medical Group, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine

We’ve partnered with schools throughout the Louisville area, including Jefferson County Public Schools, to help kids get back to play after COVID-19. Many appointments are available within a day, including Saturdays. Call your pediatrician for an appointment. If you don’t have a pediatrician:

Call (502) 588-9599

“We’ve seen that COVID-19 can cause myocarditis — inflammation of the heart muscle — and in rare cases can lead to heart failure in children,” said Justin M. Morgan, M.D., pediatrician at Norton Children’s Medical Group – Brownsboro. “In some kids the symptoms can be subtle, but exercise and sports could trigger a dangerous situation.”

Children shouldn’t return to sports and exercise until they can perform normal daily activities and show no concerning signs. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association requires students who have recovered from a positive COVID-19 test — whether they had symptoms or not — be evaluated by a physician before returning to play.

If your pediatrician sees any cause for concern, an electrocardiogram or referral to a pediatric cardiologist can be completed. If cleared, student-athletes can gradually resume physical activity according to a stepwise return-to-play protocol created by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.