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Scientists have their say on why fans and players are collapsing at matches

Scientists have their say on why fans and players are collapsing at matches recently with it happened twice on Wednesday night.

There are claims linking the Covid vaccine with an increase in the number of supporters and footballers developing heart problems.

We have seen on-field emergencies involving Wigan’s Charlie Wyke, Sheffield United’s John Fleck and fans over the last few weeks.

John Fleck’s fell to ground in an off-the-ball incident when playing for Sheffield United at Reading last week, with scientists saying that it wasn’t connected to the Covid vaccine, denouncing the anti-vaxers for suggesting a link.

The Blades player was rushed to hospital after requiring medical treatment and being carried off on a stretcher during a Championship game against Reading.

The Scot’s collapse was then caught as part of conspiracy theories on social media about players responding badly to Covid vaccines.

However those suggestions have been branded ‘irresponsible’ by experts who insist it is impossible to make any connection without any evidence.

After Sheffield United were hounded with tweets regarding the theories, the club were quick to point out that Fleck had a separate medical issue which led to his seizure. A source close to the player said: ‘John Fleck’s issue was not vaccination related.’

Speaking after Fleck’s collapse, radio pundit and ex-England winger Trevor Sinclair hinted there could be a link to the Covid jab, while Matt Le Tissier, a firm advocate of patient choice over the vaccine, also demanded in a social media post that Fifpro, football’s world governing body, should be looking into it.

Many scientists have angrily rejected the high-profile opposition to the vaccines especially as the country gets set for a possible wave of more cases and deaths from Covid after the discovery of the Omicron variant – although, it’s claimed in Israel that three doses of the vaccine should be enough to prevent you from getting the virus.

‘It is totally irresponsible to make these unsubstantiated comments,’ said Professor Keith Neal from Nottingham University.

Professor Guido Pieles, a sports cardiologist at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health, added: ‘At present I would say this is still a coincidence. I don’t think we can say this is suddenly increasing.’

80 year old Newcastle supporter Alan George Smith collapsed in the stands and required CPR at St James’ Park in the Magpies 3-1 defeat to Tottenham back in October.

Wigan’s Charlie Wyke collapsed in training last week, but the Latics were quick to refute suggestions that it had anything to do with Covid.

In a statement the club said: ‘We can confirm that Charlie has not received a Covid-19 vaccination and Charlie’s collapse weas not related to any Covid-19 vaccination.’

On Wednesday night, a fan at both Watford’s game with Chelsea and Southampton’s game against Leicester were taken ill.

Christian Eriksen, who we all remember collapsed playing for Denmark against Finland in the Euros, had not been vaccinated before the incident and it was revealed that Sergio Aguero, who was hospitalised after a collapse playing for Barcelona earlier this month, had an underlying heart condition, he has since had to retire.

Meanwhile, FIFA say it is not aware of a rise in cardiac arrests in football players and has received no reports of any cases being linked to Covid vaccinations.

A spokesperson told Reuters: “FIFA is not aware of a rise in episodes of cardiac arrests as indicated in your email and no cases have been flagged in relation to individuals receiving a COVID vaccine.

“Generally speaking, FIFA is in regular contact with leading research centres and experts to do research on a variety of medical topics.”

‘It may be tempting to blame Covid vaccines but pundits do have a public responsibility not to fuel vaccine hesitancy without any real evidence,’ added Professor Robert Dingwall.

Studies into heart inflammation after Covid vaccinations support that view and in two studies of more than 7 million people who had received the Pfizer vaccine, it identified the risk of developing the heart condition known as myocardities is about one in 50,000.

In contrast, from the earliest days of the pandemic it was clear that Covid itself was a cause of an abormal number of heart issues.

There is a link between the Covid-19 vaccine and heart conditions – but it is minuscule, officials say

Scientists believe there is a link between two minor heart conditions and the Covid-19 vaccine – but they say the risk is minuscule.

From analysis of UK and international data, there has been a signal of an increase of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following vaccination with both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle, while pericarditis is inflammation of the lining around your heart.

Symptoms include the onset of chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart.

The Government urge anyone who develops these symptoms within 2 weeks of a COVID-19 vaccination should urgently seek medical assistance.

Most individuals respond well to standard treatment and recover quickly.

The link between the Covid jabs and these two conditions, according to data, is strongest in younger men, and the median onset is within three days of vaccination.

But the risk is incredibly small, according to the data.

In the US 296 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine had been given by 11 June with 1,226 reports of myocarditis after vaccination.

And in the UK, up to July 2021, there were 149 reports of myocarditis and 129 reports of pericarditis following use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 82 reports of myocarditis and 140 reports of pericarditis following use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 25 reports of myocarditis and 22 reports of pericarditis following use of the Moderna vaccine.

This means the overall rates after both the first and second doses of Pfizer/BioNTech are 4.3 myocarditis cases per million doses and 3.8 pericarditis cases per million doses, for the rate is 1.7 myocarditis cases per million doses and 3.0 pericarditis cases per million doses, and for Moderna the rate is 14.7 myocarditis cases per million doses and 13.0 pericarditis cases per million doses.

There is a considerably stronger link between Covid patients and heart problems however.

According to figures, approximately 18 per cent of hospitalised patients suffering myocardial injury.

Meanwhile, in a US study of 1,597 athletes with recent SARS-CoV-2 infection, 0.31 per cent were diagnosed with myocarditis using a symptom-based screening strategy and 2.3 per cent were diagnosed with clinical or subclinical myocarditis.

Source: Public Health England

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