Report: Heart condition possibly linked to COVID fueling Power 5 concerns

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The Big Ten announced a conference-only schedule last week. Only a few days later came word the conference was moving toward a cancellation of football for 2020.

So what changed?

ESPN reports that doctors have diagnosed at least five Big Ten athletes — as well as athletes in other conferences — with a rare heart condition that could have a link to COVID-19.

Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, is usually caused by a viral infection. Left undiagnosed and untreated, it can cause heart damage and cardiac arrest.

The COVID-19 virus has a link with myocarditis at a higher frequency than other viruses, “based on limited studies and anecdotal evidence since the start of the pandemic,” according to ESPN.

The condition has prompted increased concern among Power 5 conference administrators about the viability of college sports this fall.

Debbie Rucker, the mother of Indiana offensive lineman Brady Feeney, had a Facebook post last week about her son’s potential heart problems after COVID-19.