Why football continues to tread carefully with COVID-19 and its dangers to the heart – The Athletic
Why football continues to tread carefully with COVID-19 and its dangers to the heart – The Athletic

Why football continues to tread carefully with COVID-19 and its dangers to the heart – The Athletic

January was something of a month for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. One moment it was a life in exile with Arsenal, the next a fresh start with Barcelona. “I’m living a dream,” Aubameyang said after his chaotic deadline day gave a big personal prize.

Between the wilderness at Arsenal and one late flight to La Ligahowever, there came a period of uncertainty.

Aubameyang was to spend much of January at the Africa Cup of Nations as captain of Gabon, only to test positive for COVID-19 on his arrival in Cameroon. A subsequent study, conducted by the Confederation of African Footballs (CAF) medical commission, then discovered “heart lesions” during routine scans.

CAF chose not to “take any risk” and ruled Aubameyang along with teammates Axel Meye and Mario Lemina out of their group game with Ghana on 14 January. All three had tested positive for COVID-19 and all three, CAF said, had been shown to have the same heart problem.

Meye was quickly approved to return and play for Gabon in their matches against Morocco and Burkina Faso, but Aubameyang and Lemina were sent back to their clubs before the qualifying group had even reached its conclusion.

Then came, thankfully, the reassurance. “I came back to London to do some further checks and I’m very happy to say that my heart is just fine and I’m completely healthy!” wrote Aubameyang on Instagram.


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