The spread and attempted containment of COVID-19 has been a major feature of life around the world since the outbreak of the virus in late 2019.
It has had a massive impact on many different industries and football is no different, with several tournaments delayed, matches postponed and even canceled due to public health concerns.
The virus continues to have an effect on the daily lives of footballers, with Premier League clubs’ preparations for matches being noticeably disrupted over the festive period after a series of localized outbreaks within teams.
How long does COVID-19 keep footballers out?
If a footballer contracts COVID-19, he will be out of action for at least several days to comply with self-isolation guidelines.
The length of time a person must spend in self-isolation varies but, for Premier League footballers in England, it is currently 10 days. by the NHS. However, it is possible for a person to come out of self-isolation after five days, as long as they have two negative lateral flow tests, 24 hours apart.
Rules vary from country to country, and Germany’s self-isolation period lasts 14 days, or until a negative PCR test occurs, so Bundesliga footballers would be out of action longer than their German counterparts. the Premier League. However, in Spain, the self-isolation period has been reduced from 10 days to seven days, which means that La Liga players have a shorter waiting time.
Of course, as with any illness, how long COVID-19 keeps a footballer out of action ultimately depends on the severity of the symptoms and how long they persist. For example, a player could contract the virus, but be completely asymptomatic, and their recovery time is simply the time they must self-isolate. However, symptoms may persist for a week or more, meaning recovery time may be longer.
Lionel Messi missed several weeks and several games for Paris Saint-Germain in January 2022 after contracting COVID-19. After missing most of the month with the virus, the Argentine international said, in an Instagram post, that “it took me longer than I thought to be okay”.
What about ‘Long COVID’?
For some footballers, the effects of contracting COVID-19 have had a lingering impact, with several people being ruled out for a longer period of time than anticipated.
When it comes to Long COVID, there is no set period and it depends on the individual, but you can see a player on the sidelines for weeks, months or even a year.
Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson was unable to fully participate in the Red Devils’ 2021-22 pre-season training camp in August 2021 due to what the club described as “prolonged fatigue”, three weeks after contracting COVID -19. The England international was only included in the matchday squads approximately two months later in October, but subsequently found himself playing as a substitute for David de Gea.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 5, 2021
Juventus striker Paulo Dybala contracted COVID-19 in March 2020 and was still testing positive six weeks later. He said the official Juventus website, “I was struggling to breathe. My muscles ached.”
Finlay MacNab had been playing for League One side Wimbledon before “Long COVID” cut his career short and kept him out of action for over a year, with fatigue, diet issues and heart rate problems taking their toll. .
“With Long COVID, I have extreme fatigue,” MacNab told the BBC in November 2021. “It feels like I’ve played a full 90-minute game, that tired feeling afterwards, I’ll get it if I go up the stairs or if I go back for a walk.”
What about other long-term effects?
Prolonged COVID-19 can have lasting effects on a player’s health, but there are other side effects of COVID-19 that can have very real effects on someone’s career.
Often those side effects are related to the heart, which can be scary.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina were sent home from Gabon’s African Cup of Nations squad earlier this month after CAF determined the duo developed “heart injuries” as a result of a fight with COVID. -19.
Bayern Munich star Josh Kimmich, who was confirmed to be unvaccinated against COVID-19, developed lung problems from the virus and missed two months while recovering. “I’m doing really well, but I still can’t fully train because of some slight leaks in my lungs,” Kimmich said in early December, before missing another month. “So, I’m going to do some rehab training and I can’t wait to be fully back in action in January.”