p-ISSN: 1300-0551
e-ISSN: 2587-1498

Özlem Karasimav1, Nilüfer Kutay Ordu Gökkaya2, Ebru Alemdaroğlu2, Burkay Utku1, Nilgün Ergün1

1Sports Health and Rehabilitation Division, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital, Ankara City Hospital, Ankara, Türkiye
2Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Division, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital, Ankara City Hospital, Ankara, Türkiye

Keywords: COVID-19, muscular strength, return to sport, VO2max


Objective: Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected the whole world and still host many obscurities. Researches involving athletes investigated the lifestyle, athletic performance and psychological alterations compared to pre-pandemics and returning-to-sports process. But, knowledge about the past symptomatic COVID-19 effects on athletic performance is immature. Athletes are prone to asymptomatic or mild symptomatic COVID-19 rather than severe form; so this study aimed to compare the muscular athletic performance, cardiorespiratory function and psychological condition after COVID-19 between asymptomatic and mild symptomatic athletes.

Materials and Methods: This case-control designed study recruited a total of 40 young adult male long-distance runners who survived COVID-19 asymptomatically (n=20), and with mild symptoms (n=20). All of the subjects had completed the isolation period and been approved to return-to-sports. The age, anthropometric properties, athletic license term and dominant hand and foot sides of the subjects were recorded. The muscular strength of upper limb, isokinetic and isometric muscular strengths of lower limb flexor and extensors, and VO2max were measured. The self-reported depression, anxiety and COVID-19-related fear were evaluated.

Results: The values of all muscular strength parameters, VO2max and anxiety level were similar between the groups (p>0.05). However, the levels of depression (p=0.048) and COVID-19-related fear (p=0.012) were significantly higher in mild symptomatic group in comparison with asymptomatic (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Mild symptomatic COVID-19 did not affect muscular athletic performance and cardiorespiratory fitness, but caused psychological disorder in comparison with asymptomatic infection. In case of COVID-19, the psychological state of the athlete should be paid close attention. We suggest the supply of adequate and quick psychological support while targeting the previous level of physical fitness and athletic performance in the returning-to-sports process.

Cite this article as: Karasimav O, Ordu Gokkaya NK, Alemdaroglu E, Utku B., Ergun N The Effect of asymptomatic versus mild symptomatic COVID-19 infection on male athletic performance: A cross-sectional clinical research. Turk J Sports Med. 2024;59(1):1-8; https://doi.org/10.47447/tjsm.0770

Ethics Committee Approval

The approval for this study was obtained from Ankara City Hospital No.2 Ethics Committee, Ankara, Turkey (Decision no: E2-21-46).

Author Contributions

Concept – OK, NKOG, EA; Design – OK, NKOG, EA; Supervision – OK, NKOG; Materials – OK, NKOG, EA; Data Collection and/or Processing – OK, BU, NE; Analysis and Interpretation – OK; Literature Review – OK; Writing Manuscript - OK; Critical Reviews - OK, NKOG, EA, BU, NE

Conflict of Interest

The authors declared no conflicts of interest with respect to authorship and/or publication of the article.

Financial Disclosure

The authors received no financial support for the research and/or publication of this article.