[ti:South Africa Leads Global Research on COVID's Effect on Athletes]
[00:00.04]Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics say they will have measures
[00:04.80]in place next year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
[00:11.28]The Olympics were set to take place this past summer,
[00:15.68]but delayed until 2021 because of the virus.
[00:22.20]Little is known about how the virus affects the long-term health
[00:27.36]of individuals who were already infected, including athletes.
[00:34.00]South African researchers are leading an international effort
[00:38.68]to try to find answers.
[00:42.32]Wenda Nel, a South African runner, has recovered from COVID-19,
[00:47.88]the disease caused by the virus.
[00:51.72]Nel told VOA that she is happy to be running again
[00:56.84]in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
[01:00.44]"It was about two to four weeks that I've took it very slowly with the training.
[01:05.80]Checked my heart rate every training session.
[01:09.12]And from there, I actually went into full program.
[01:12.12]And I feel stronger...and actually fully recovered right now."
[01:16.64]Martin Schwellnus is a Professor of Sport and Exercise Medicine
[01:22.00]at the University of Pretoria.
[01:25.48]He directs the university's Sport,
[01:28.40]Exercise Medicine, and Lifestyle Institute (SEMLI).
[01:33.44]Schwellnus is leading a group of scientists in setting guidelines
[01:38.60]for doctors who treat athletes recovering
[01:41.92]from serious respiratory infections, including the coronavirus.
[01:48.76]The Sport, Exercise Medicine, and Lifestyle Institute
[01:52.84]launched the international AWARE Research Study as part of this work.
[01:59.88]The project includes information
[02:02.52]from the COVID-19 Recovery Clinic for athletes.
[02:07.96]Schwellnus says COVID-19 seems to affect many different organ systems.
[02:14.76]"In the returning to sport, it could result in medical complications.
[02:18.96]And to date, we don't really know what these are for COVID.
[02:22.12]And so, the focus of the project is to investigate what happens in an athlete
[02:26.72]when they had COVID and how does the body heal and respond."
[02:30.52]The project uses an online questionnaire
[02:34.52]to gather information from any person training for three hours a week
[02:39.96]who had serious respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
[02:47.04]Those recovering from the disease
[02:49.28]can join the COVID-19 Recovery Clinic for help returning to sports.
[02:56.00]Marcel Jooste is both an athlete and a medical doctor.
[03:01.68]He joined the clinic after he recovered from COVID-19,
[03:06.16]which he caught from a patient.
[03:09.56]Jooste told VOA that he has done
[03:12.60]all expected of him so that he could return to training.
[03:17.56]He adds that he is required to tell doctors how he feels following physical exercise.
[03:26.24]The research examines COVID-19's effect on all organ systems.
[03:33.44]Early findings show that athletes who have had COVID-19
[03:38.36]find low-intensity exercise to be harder
[03:42.28]and recovery time much longer than from other respiratory infections.
[03:49.40]Kelly Muller is a rehabilitation specialist at the University of Pretoria's SEMLI.
[03:56.64]She says evidence-based guidelines should help recovering athletes
[04:02.32]to better and more safely prepare for the Olympic games.
[04:07.24]"If an athlete does happen to contract COVID-19,
[04:10.52]it would be really important and really valuable
[04:12.92]for coaches and medical professionals to have evidence-based advice
[04:18.04]to guide that athlete back to their performance in the shortest time possible."
[04:23.16]For Wenda Nel and other athletes recovering from the infection,
[04:28.16]the research could help them come home from Tokyo as Olympic champions.
[04:34.24]I'm Jonathan Evans. 更多听力请访问51VOA.COM