Penn State Clarifies Alarming Claim on Athlete Health

Team doctor said a third of athletes had heart issue after recovering from virus
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 8:11 AM CDT
Penn State Walks Back Alarming Claim on Athletes, COVID
In this Nov. 30, 2019, file photo, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons (11) tackles Rutgers tight end Johnathan Lewis (11) in the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in State College, Pa.   (AP Photo/Barry Reeger, File)

Penn State's director of athletic medicine has apologized for causing "confusion" with an alarming claim about athletes who have recovered from COVID-19. Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli, who is also the Penn State football team's doctor, said earlier this week that around a third of Big Ten athletes who tested positive for the virus and had undergone cardiac scans showed signs of inflammation of the heart muscle. The university now says that was incorrect. "During his discussion with board members, he recalled initial preliminary data that had been verbally shared by a colleague on a forthcoming study, which unbeknownst to him at the time had been published at a lower rate," Penn State said in a statement to ESPN.

"The research was not conducted by Dr. Sebastianelli or Penn State. Dr. Sebastianelli wishes to clarify this point, and apologize for any confusion," the university said. Penn State said that contrary to what Sebastianelli's remarks may have implied, no cases of myocarditis have been detected among Penn State athletes, USA Today reports. In his remarks earlier this week, Sebastianelli said the myocarditis findings were among the reasons why the Big Ten postponed its fall season. At the time, Commissioner Kevin Warren said it was "abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall," CNN reports. (More college football stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.