NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As the Tennessee Titans recover from several players being diagnosed with COVID-19, they also face two other residual implications: virtual team preparation and the possibility of health complications.
“They are going to have a team meeting on the computer,” said Chris Sanders, a former Titans wide receiver. He says going virtual won’t be much different than how the team would prepare normally. “The next thing that the Tennessee Titans are going to do is — break up into individual meetings. They have a wide receivers meeting, a defensive backs meeting. The quarterback meets.”
When it comes to those players who have been diagnosed with the virus, Sanders said the coaching staff has several decisions to make.
“This is where depth comes into play. Just say if a Corey Davis has COVID — who is going to be the other guy to play? Do you go get another veteran wide receiver? Or do you play with the guys you have?” Sanders asked rhetorically. “We just gotta cross our fingers and hope that all 8 guys are there. ‘Cause if they are not, and they are one of your prominent players — then what do you do?”
The team has not released the names of those players who have COVID. However, Sports Cardiologists say the athletes could face life-long implications — like permanent heart damage.
“Most viral infections might affect the heart muscle maybe 1% of the time. But, coronavirus is probably around a 10% risk of involving a heart muscle. And, that’s what we call myocarditis,” said Dr. Jim Gentry, a sports cardiologist for TriStar Centennial.
Gentry says symptoms could include heart dysfunction, abnormal heath rhythm, or even death.
“What is recommended is that they slowly resume exercise,” Dr. Gentry explained. “They don’t go out there and do 100% on day one. We want to make sure that as they increase their exercise that they aren’t having symptoms.”
The impacted players are defensive lineman Daquan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson.
Each player who tested positive for the virus must be cleared by the team physician and pass a cardiac screening exam.