Olympic athletes battling Covid for extended periods: ‘Training was hard’

A remadora Oonagh Cousins durante um treinamento
Prolonged Covid left rower Oonagh Cousins ​​struggling to get out of bed
Photo: Instagram / Reproduction

Athlete Oonagh Cousins ​​trained for up to 35 hours a week after being selected for the UK rowing team the Olympics From Tokyo, even after contracting Covid-19 in February 2020.

The 26-year-old, who lives in Surrey, England, had a mild case of the disease, so I thought she could get back to training quickly. But she believes the intense exercise may have exacerbated the illness, adding that it “turned out to be a very bad case of Covid,” forcing her to leave the Olympic team.

At the worst of times, over the course of a few months, Cousins ​​said, “I had a hard time getting out of bed.” “Getting out of bed to make breakfast was a huge mountain to climb.”

According to her, so far, “extreme fatigue” allows her to perform only a few hours of normal activity per day.

“Training is still a struggle,” he said. “Today, I can probably do three 20-minute sessions a week in a very light way.”

Now, it wants to alert other young athletes – especially those traveling to Tokyo for the Games – to take Covid-19 seriously.

“Young people who are healthy, who exercise, do not think they will get sick. It is important that everyone who catches the virus is very careful.”

Your path to recovery is still on. But his Olympic dreams in Tokyo are gone.

“I found it so hard, I was so upset,” she said, about giving up the games. “I gave myself space to process, I allowed myself to suffer.”

The cousins ​​are hoping to get back in shape in preparation for competing in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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“I’m in mourning”

However, for other athletes, Tokyo was the last chance to win an Olympic medal.

Priscilla Loomis, an American high jump athlete who competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics, had hoped to represent Antigua and Barbuda in Tokyo due to her dual citizenship.

But a serious case of Covid-19 hampered her chances and she failed to qualify.

“I’m totally devastated,” Loomis said. “I am heartbroken. I am recovering now. I am in mourning.”

Loomis suffered from chest pain and breathing difficulties and had to miss eight weeks of training. Her doctor even advised her to give up her Olympic bid due to the potential long-term damage to her heart and lungs. But she continued.

“All I could think of was ‘I need to prepare for the Olympics, I need to prepare for the Olympics.'” Then my world turned upside down.

The high jumper, 32, said she cannot continue training at this level (or obtain the financial support needed to do so) for another four years.

“It was my last chance. I can’t afford the coaches and doctors, and as I get older, there are a lot of random parts that hurt when I wake up.”

Prolonged Covid, also known as post-Covid syndrome, has become a long-standing public health problem.

In the UK alone, nearly 700,000 people reported having symptoms for at least three months after contracting Covid-19, according to a survey conducted by the UK’s National Statistics Office in March.

Most of the 700,000 people said the disease was limiting their daily activities. For nearly 70,000, symptoms have persisted for more than a year.

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A separate study published in April showed that seven out of ten people hospitalized with Covid-19 had not fully recovered five months after discharge.

Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, says researchers aren’t entirely sure why the virus infects some people stronger than others.

“We are dealing with a disease that we did not even know how to know a year ago,” the doctor said.

“If you are an athlete, you may have Covid symptoms that last for a long time. And that affects their performance a lot for a long time as well.”

Rebooting from scratch

Some athletes with the virus have fully recovered and will be competing in Tokyo.

Vinesh Phogat, India’s hero fighter, contracted Covid-19 in August 2020.

“I was really shocked at how infected I got because I never left the house,” Foggt said. “I had no contact with anyone and was just at home for training.”

The 26-year-old recovered without any problems, but the time without training, as well as the postponement of matches, delayed her schedule.

“Being infected with Covid-19 for a month ended all my previous training. I had to retrain from scratch.”

Phogat also said he faced great personal concern after his entire family acquired Covid-19 a few months ago in India during a major outbreak in the country. At that time, she was training in Ukraine.

“Everyone tested positive for Covid and the situation in India was full of hospitals,” he recalls. “If I was in India, maybe I could call people and take care of them. My biggest concern was that I wasn’t with them.”

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Phogat called them between seven and ten times a day to check their condition.

“Since my family lives in a village, they need to be reminded about what pills to take, what to do and what not to do. I was worried because my family has many children and my mother gets sick easily, so I was saddened by the deteriorating situation.”

Fortunately, everyone has made a full recovery and the fighter is now fully focused on success in the Olympics – and entering the favorite event in her under-53kg division.

At the Rio Olympics, Phogat was taken from the gym on a stretcher after a serious knee injury. So this time around, she’s fighting for a medal and feels lucky to be able to compete in the midst of a global pandemic.

“It’s tough, but actually it’s a pleasure that, even in a situation like this, we can still compete in the Olympics and all of us athletes can make our country proud,” Fogat said. “We can show the world that we can all come together. Covid-19 has made everyone so nervous, stay home, and now people will have a chance to watch the Olympics and the champions from all over the world.”

(Translated text, read the original text in English over here.)

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