Athletes Health during Pandemic Times: Hospitalization Rates and Variables Related to COVID-19 Prevalence among Endurance Athletes


Int. J. Cardiovasc. Sci.




Abstract Background The SARS-COV2 pandemic has deeply affected the availability for training and competing for recreational and professional athletes. However, to date, the disease’s course among the athletic population has not been *studied . Objectives To compare the observed and expected rates of hospitalization for COVID-19 and to establish relationships between demographics and sportive characteristics of an athletic sample, and the COVID-19 infection rate. Material and Methods This study uses cross-sectional data sampling through an online questionnaire to collect data from recreational and professional athletes. Based on self-reports, athletes were grouped in COVID-19 and Non-COVID-19 cases. To decrease detection bias for each four patients who reported being hospitalized, one additional virtual patient was added to the sample. The observed rate of hospitalization (ORH) was compared with age expected rate of hospitalization (ERH) from the literature data. A multivariate model (MM) was developed to establish independent relationships between the prevalence of COVID-19 cases and the variables mentioned above. The statistical significance level was defined for a p-value<0.05. Results Answers from 1,701 individuals were analyzed. The COVID-19 group was comprised of 99 (5.8%) individuals, four of whom reported having been hospitalized. ORH and ERH were respectively of 5.0% and 18.1% (p=0.001). In the MM female gender (OR=2.02, 95% CI 1.28 to 3.19), cycling (OR=2.91, 95% CI 1.58 to 5.39), swimming (OR=2.97, 95% CI 1.14 to 7.74), and triathlon (OR=2.10, 95% CI 1.13 to 3.91) were independently associated with a COVID-19 prevalence. Conclusion Self-reported rates of hospitalization for COVID-19 among athletes were much lower than expected. The prevalence of positive cases of COVID-19 was independently higher for cyclists, triathletes, and swimmers than for runners.

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