Update> Dr. Sebastianelli says, “my bad”. He had incorrect information. Exactly as we wrote below:
Regarding the claim that 30-35% of Big Ten athletes have been discovered to have heart conditions linked to Covid-19: It was incorrect.
Here is some clarification from Penn State.
"Dr. Sebastianelli wishes to clarify this point, and apologize for any confusion." pic.twitter.com/ATUc2FxDrU
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) September 3, 2020
This is like dunking on your own doctor; but James Franklin just went in with this:
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) September 3, 2020
A meeting of State College area board of school directors reignited the national debate about college football amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the meeting, which took place Monday night but did not go national until published in the Centre Daily Times on Thursday, Penn State director Wayne Sebastianelli told the school boards that “30 to 35 percent” of Big Ten athletes that were tested for myocarditis were found to have had it.
“What we do know is COVID positive athletes, whether they were symptomatic or not, roughly 30, 35 percent of their heart muscle is inflamed,” he said. “The population of those tested, roughly 30 to 35 percent are showing this inflammation. We just really don’t know what to do with it right now.”
This number is significantly higher than what was previously known, as the last report from the conference was stated to be between 10 and 15 athletes, total. (Note: The Big Ten has still released zero hard-and-fast figures on the number of myocarditis cases found within the conference.)
Sebastianelli noted himself that he hasn’t discussed any of this data with Penn State President Eric Barron on this topic.
The “30-35%” number was so alarming FootballScoop immediately reached out to football staff members throughout the Big Ten. The responses we received did not reveal anything approaching the “30 to 35 percent” figure purported to be found within the league.
Eight staffers were polled. Among the seven that responded, the consensus was along the lines of “We’re not experiencing that here and haven’t heard of anyone in the conference experiencing this. Last we heard was nearly 10 total athletes across all sports.” One of the largest programs in the Big Ten told FootballScoop they have not identified a single player with any sort of heart inflammation or myocarditis issue.
This jives with other reported figures within the industry.
— John Kryk (@JohnKryk) August 28, 2020
The report on myocarditis from the Penn State doctor doesn't align with numbers I've heard across the country. https://t.co/bTyqxOgxqM
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) September 3, 2020
I’ve talked to folks at two other schools doing the same screening practices who didn’t share specific numbers but said their data does not reflect the Big Ten data & myocarditis cases were “not significant."
— 💫🅰️♈️🆔 (@ADavidHaleJoint) September 3, 2020
Furthermore, ESPN polled all 65 Power 5 conferences for their testing data. Of the 26 respond, only one reported having an athlete with heart-related issues in conjunction with a COVID-19 diagnosis, but the condition was not myocarditis.
A Memphis cardiologist shared a story with the Daily Memphian where a University of Memphis cardiologist polled his colleagues in the American Athletic Conference asking if myocarditis was a concern significant enough to warrant shutting down fall sports. The response was a unanimous “No.”
COVID-19 is a new virus where new information comes to light daily. But right now, doctors in the Big Ten have either obtained information in regards to the prevalence of myocarditis that is not shared anywhere else in cardiology or college athletics, or perhaps someone or something is being misinterpreted. Either way, the Big Ten should speak on this matter publicly.
Update> Mayo Clinic Genetic Cardiologist Michael Ackerman has weighed in:
Unfortunately, it is deja vu all over again. I last tossed down the physician's RED FLAG & cried FOUL on this #COVID19 #myocarditis issue on August 11th and now forced to do it again. There is no way that 30-35% of #Athletes with COVID19 have myocarditis.
— Michael J. Ackerman MD,PhD (@MJAckermanMDPhD) September 3, 2020