Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez on Sunday confirmed that he was infected with the coronavirus earlier this year and is now suffering from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Rodriguez, 27, told reporters that while the condition has benched him for at least a week, he still hopes to return to play at some point in the season. He did say, however, that he is “still scared” after learning of the diagnosis.
"I want to be pitching yesterday, the day before, or today," he said, according to WEEI Sports Radio Network. "I want to be out there every time I can, so I'm never thinking of getting out of the season. I feel bad every time I see a game happening and I'm not even in the dugout."
The condition is typically the result of a viral infection and can affect the heart’s capacity to pump blood or cause abnormal heart rhythms. It has frequently occurred in coronavirus patients, even though the virus is considered a respiratory infection.
"This particular virus causes more problems with the heart than any other virus so that's why we're being particularly careful," Dermot Phelan, a cardiologist and director of the Sports Cardiology Center at Atrium Health's Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, told CBS Sports. "That's why we're being more conservative in terms of our recommendations for return to play. We have data from hospitalized patients that show between seven and 33 percent of people will have some cardiac injury after getting COVID-19."
While patients in Rodriguez’s age group are far less likely to die from coronavirus complications, his case is an example of the lingering health conditions it can cause across age groups.
Rodriguez is set to undergo another MRI at the end of his week off, at which point doctors will assess whether the inflammation has subsided.