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Penn State Clarifies Comments From Top Doctor, Says No Myocarditis Among COVID-19 Positives

by on September 03, 2020 6:54 PM

Penn State clarified comments made earlier in the week by Director of Athletic Medicine, Dr. Wayne Sebastianelli regarding COVID-19 side-effects among Big Ten athletes that have contracted the virus. The Centre Daily Times first reported the story on those comments Thursday morning.

Speaking to the State College Area School Board on Monday evening during a prolonged conversation about the district's own fall sports season, Sebastianelli mentioned that 30 to 35 percent of Big Ten players who tested positive for COVID-19 were also diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that has long been connected to the coronavirus.

At the time, Sebastianelli referenced a larger study, although which one was unclear at the time.

"During his discussion with board members, he recalled initial preliminary data that had been verbally shared by a colleague on a forthcoming study, which unbeknownst to him at the time had been published at a lower rate,” Penn State said in a statement to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura

“The research was not conducted by Dr. Sebastianelli or Penn State. Dr. Sebastianelli wishes to clarify this point and apologize for any confusion.” 

According to a report by the New York Times, a study showed myocarditis in close to 15 percent of athletes who had the virus.

As of Wednesday, Penn State athletics has reported just 11 COVID-19 positives since its phased return to campus earlier this summer over the course of some 1,200 tests. Athletes are required in high contact sports to be tested twice a week per Big Ten standards. Penn State also clarified that none of its COVID-19 positive athletes had developed myocarditis.

By coincidence or not, Penn State coach James Franklin praised Sebastianelli's role in Penn State's successful COVID-19 preventive measures during his weekly radio show on Thursday night.

“Wayne Sebastinaelli, his leadership through this has been really good,” Franklin said. “Wayne’s been very valuable to me.” 

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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