One of the main reasons the Big Ten decided to postpone the fall football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic was emerging evidence it led to a heart condition called myocarditis in some cases.
In case you’re just now getting up to speed on that health complication (we can’t blame you), it is an inflammation of the heart some viruses can cause. That inflammation may lead to complications, including death. It’s the same ailment Randy Walker, the late head coach of Northwestern, died from years ago.
Undetected, it can strike what appears to be an otherwise healthy individual, especially in the midst of strenuous exercise. American football conditioning and game play would fit that bill.
However, one of the co-authors of that study, Ohio State doctor Curt Daniels, now says the results were misinterpreted and misconstrued. In fact, Daniels believes the information should be used for a safe return to play as opposed to a reason to shut things down. He took some time to speak with Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch.
“I think we have a safe way to return to play,” Daniels told the Dispatch. “I hope that we will find a way to do so.”
Daniels was perplexed the positive cases that were found using cardiac magnetic resonance (CRMs), as opposed to the more traditional means of EKGs and echocardiograms, were focused on more than the ability to monitor the condition more effectively.
″‘My gosh, they found myocarditis, there’s no way we can play,’ ” Daniels said of the general reaction. “They’re putting it out there saying it’s not safe to play. They’re not reading the article. Or if they’re reading it, they’re just putting their own spin on it, like, ‘It’s not safe.’
“It’s actually the opposite. We’re saying we actually found this, but we know a path now to say it’s safe to go back as opposed to having this uncomfortable feeling of not knowing anything” about the actual risk.
Daniels also expressed frustration over a New York Times article sounding the alarm bell for something he felt was positive news. He also cited the low statistical numbers that should have been taken with a grain of salt.
“There’s obviously an angle that somebody’s trying to take, not just based on the data, but trying to infer different pieces of information from what’s out there,” Daniels said. “And clearly, people have very strong opinions. I mean, this is a very important topic. It’s a big topic, and there’s very strong opinions, but they’re all opinions.”
This is all just crazy when you think about it. There have been so many decisions made based on data that is either incomplete, emerging, or taken the wrong way that it begs the question of who is making decisions in the ivory tower of the Big Ten.
I mean, in this case, the two doctors who published the study weren’t hanging out on the West Coast or somewhere in the Northeast, but right in the freakin’ footprint of the Big Ten, at a member institution nonetheless.
It appears the other co-author, Dr. James Borchers, is on-board with the medical subcommittee to help transition (if possible) to a safe return to play, but where was he or Daniels when this data was being interpreted that was reportedly so key to making the call to shelve the season?
This situation only adds to the mountain of questions being asked, and for reasons that are hard to argue with. Maybe there’s more to it that we just don’t know about, but the silence from the Big Ten doesn’t help one bit.
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