Professional soccer players fought fatigue for six weeks after COVID infection, study finds

Matchday performance of professional footballers dropped after recovering from COVID-19 with three quarters fighting fatigue for six weeks, a University of Essex study has found.

The study — published in Physiological Reports — examined top-flight soccer players for the first time and explored the impact of long Covid on elite athletes.

It found 77 per cent of those studied fought general fatigue for 37 days and 54 per cent battled muscle fatigue for 38 days after testing negative.

GPS data from 10 games after they returned to play uncovered a four per cent decline in match performance — despite no drop in lung capacity.

The study was led by Dr Michele Girardi who worked in collaboration with the University’s School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Sciences.

He hopes the research will help improve the return-to-play protocols for sports stars recovering from the virus.

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