Bundesliga stars have been warned that catching coronavirus could cause ‘irreversible’ and ‘career-ending’ lung damage by a top sports doctor ahead of the league’s return this weekend.
The German Football League (DFL) has drawn up strict rules to protect players from the risk of being infected with the virus with games being played behind closed doors and only a limited number of media and officials allowed to attend.
Players have also been told to avoid pre-match handshakes and celebrating goals together ahead of this weekend’s return.
The DFL says while no plan could ever be ‘100 per cent safe’, the guidelines aim to create a playing environment with a low, ‘medically-justifiable risk’.
However, professor Wilhelm Bloch, from the German Sports University in Cologne, warns that contracting the coronavirus has the potential to end a player’s career.
‘There is a risk that top athletes may lose their level of performance and never regain it,’ Bloch told AFP. ‘Generally, the physical makeup, immune system and cardiovascular system of elite athletes mean that the risk to them is low.
‘However, we do not know at this time whether even minor infections or even mild symptoms, do not cause damage, such as minor scarring of the lungs after an inflammation.
‘This damage may be irreversible or may last a very long time before the body repairs it.
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