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Avera Medical Minute: Some athletes experience lasting effects from COVID-19

Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 8:00 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Some athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 are now finding that they are still battling the long-term effects of the virus. This can affect their workouts and make it difficult to get back to a regular routine. So one Aberdeen man is using his own experience to help guide athletes back to success.

Kyle Everson lives and breathes fitness. However, his usual workout routine was recently affected in March when he developed COVID-19.

“It was like a light switch for me. I went to bed feeling fine, woke up in the middle of the night just burning up. So I went and got my temp, I was 103,” said Everson.

Once he felt better and returned to the gym he noticed some changes in his body.

“I tried to do a few squats to show kids and I was winded. I mean, it felt like I ran a marathon. So definitely the fatigue lasted and lasted for quite a while,” said Everson.

He also experienced stiffness in his chest and had a hard time catching his breath.

“Probably for a month after I really didn’t feel like training, just trying to get through the day,” said Everson.

Once he started to get back into a routine, he found he had to take it slow.

“I pushed myself through it and by the end, I was lying flat on the ground. You know, every time I tried to stand up, I just got really dizzy and tired. Definitely, I had to learn from that experience. I couldn’t push myself like that. So I kind of backed off a little bit,” said Everson.

“As I’ve done a little more, it’s getting a little bit better. So I think there is some improvement. You’ve just kind of got to watch it and each day is different. There are some days where I plan to work out and I had to cut it short just because I wasn’t feeling it that day,” he added.

Everson’s story is something Avera Health Personal Trainer Adam White is seeing with some of his athletes.

“When they first come back from being sick, I just like to take them through basically another assessment just to kind of really gauge where their training threshold is at. And just kind of see how it’s affected them,” said White.

Some were able to get right back into working out, making up for a couple of weeks lost.

“Others, I mean it’s almost like we’re starting all over again and they are starting to make progress now, but it’s a process. You can tell that they are not making the progress that they want to and it’s kind of frustrating for them. So you just gotta kind of bare with them and just take it in stride,” said White.

That’s where Everson has been able to help. He’s also an athletic trainer at the Avera Human Performance Center in Aberdeen.

He and White are using his personal experience to help student-athletes who are also feeling long-term effects from COVID.

“What we try to do when we’re telling them, training and going through is really try to focus on the breathing type aspect, you know the deep breaths,” said Everson.

And White tells athletes to be patient.

“When you’ve made such good progress in the past and have to work your way back up, it can be really frustrating and kind of disheartening for them. So you just gotta really just be encouraging to them and just bring them up and let them know that it might be a little bit longer and might not be what they want the timeline to be, but we will get back to where we need to be,” said White.

They say it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

For more information head over to Avera.org

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