One of the highest profile cases of a potential adverse reaction to either Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or its associated gene therapy vaccines was quietly reported on Jan. 14 when one of the best left backs in professional soccer was sidelined indefinitely with “signs of mild myocarditis.”
Posted on the website for the FC Bayern Munchen website, Head Coach Julian Nagelsmann announced that a routine medical examination following a COVID infection in 21-year-old Alphonso Davies, a resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, had “detected signs of mild myocarditis, i.e. an inflammation of the heart muscle.”
Nagelsmann continued, “He’ll sit out training until further notice. He won’t be available, also in the coming weeks. The ultrasound shows this myocarditis isn’t so dramatic but it’s a sign of myocarditis. Still, it has to heal and that will definitely take some time.”
Caught Offside reports that Davies is a bona fide star who was purchased by Bayern Munchen from Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Jan. 1, 2019 for 9 million pounds ($15.45 million CAD approx.), appearing in 107 matches and having “directly contributed” to 23 goals.
The outlet noted that Davies “has already lifted 10 major trophies, including the 2019-20 Champions League.”
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In its statement, Bayern Munchen further announced that five other players who had also been sidelined with symptomatic COVID infection, were slated to return.
The club announced Davies was a positive COVID-19 case and would be unavailable to play in a Jan. 5 news update. A Jan. 6 promotional piece for the club’s then-upcoming match against Mönchengladbach revealed that a total of nine members of the team were COVID positive.
Bayern Munchen lost the match by a score of 2-1.
Canada’s state-funded messaging outlet CBC reported that the setback will also cause Davies to miss the next three World Cup qualifiers for the Canadian national team scheduled between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2.
The outlet noted that Davies, who plays as a defender for Bayern Munchen, is “viewed as one of the finest left backs in the world, due to his pace and attacking flair,” adding the star “plays in a more offensive position for Canada.”
“Davies has won 35 caps for Canada, registering 10 goals and 15 assists,” stated CBC on his achievements in the national team.
The outbreak was not the first for Bayern Munchen in recent months. In October, predating the emergency of the Omicron variant, Coach Nagelsmann tested positive as well. The team’s press release noted the instance occurred “despite being fully vaccinated.”
A Jan. 14 tweet by Rick Westhead, reporter for Canadian media outlets The Sports Network and CTV, stated he had communicated with Davies’s agent, who said the star was both feeling fine and had accepted his booster dose of a COVID vaccine in December.
Website Bavarian Football Works reported Nagelsmann as stating during a press conference that Davies’s myocarditis was likely linked to COVID, “There are different triggers for this. A high viral load is often the reason. The probability that it comes from the coronavirus is relatively high, but it is 100 percent clear.”
Incidences of heart problems affecting professional athletes in Europe is becoming an increasingly serious trend. As of late December, website Good Sciencing, which chronicles news articles on the subject with a reasonable degree of accuracy, had calculated 384 instances occurring in 2021.
That number has since increased to more than 461 cases, among which are 269 reported fatalities.
Nagelsmann was nonetheless optimistic for a full recovery, “This myocarditis isn’t too dramatic based on the ultrasound, but more simply signs of an inflammation. Nevertheless, it needs to heal and that will no doubt take some time.”