A new website screens athletes for covid-19 symptoms and provides a calculator to help guide their return to training.

A new website that detects and screens athletes for covid-19 was launched on Thursday, April 29. Director of the Wits Institute for Sport and Health (WISH) and associate professor at the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences, Jonathan Patricios, partnered with sport physician, Dr Jarrad Van Zuydam, who works at the Netcare Waterfall SOS Sports Medicine Centre, to establish a website for athletes that screens for covid-19 symptoms and provides a summary of how long it will take for athletes to return to their full training performance.

“The website is designed for anybody who may have had some time off and wants to safely return to their exercise routine,” Van Zuydam told Wits Vuvuzela.  

“The benefits of exercise as a significant intervention of preventing disease is an important point to get across. Especially when students go back to class, they need to have as much immunity as possible” added Patricios. 

The website, InsightFit.com, provides a simple screening tool to identify covid-19 symptoms. If you are experiencing any symptoms, the website immediately instructs you to contact your general practitioner or follow recommended National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) guidelines.

If you are not experiencing any symptoms of covid-19, the website asks you a few basic questions regarding the last few weeks of your training routine. The website then emails you a summary showing how many days and 

weeks it would likely take you to return to your peak fitness levels.

“With the coronavirus lurking in the community, you would like your immune system to be in tiptop shape. We need to move away from the idea that you need to stay at home and not do anything,” Van Zuydam told Wits Vuvuzela.  

Patricios explained how a lack  of motivation and routine will cause an athlete’s performance levels to drop. “Many athletes are not able to do specific training for their sport and a lot of the training they are doing is generic. Repetitive training regimes and a loss of motivation allow bad habits to creep in.”

Van Zuydam and Patricios both highlight the issue of possible immune system depression and an increased risk of injury and illness when athletes overexert themselves after long periods of rest.

“If you overdo your exercise you put your immune system under a lot of stress and make yourself more susceptible  to the virus. The website is there to try and safeguard against that and make sure you are adding your exercise load gradually,” said  Van Zuydam.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Website, InsightFit.com screens athletes for covid-19 symptoms. PHOTO: Provided.