Blackhawks Jonathan Toews struggling with long Covid, steps away from ice hockey

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews has been off the ice for quite some time, having played his last National Hockey League (NHL) game on Jan. 28. . Toews, 34, announced today that he’s been having a long fight with something that’s been going on for a long time: long Covid.

Yes, Toews has had Covid for a long time, you know that thing that some politicians and personalities keep claiming doesn’t exist? Well, what’s going on with Toews, the captain of the Blackhawks, should be a reality check. He hasn’t even trained with his team since February 5th and justified his absence in the following statement: “First of all, thank you to the fans and everyone who was concerned about my absence. I am still dealing with the symptoms of Long Covid and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. It has been really challenging to deal with these symptoms. In the last few weeks, I got to the point where I had no choice but to step back and focus on getting healthy.” The Chicago Blackhawks included Toew’s full statement in a tweet:

It’s not clear how many people are getting long Covid every day because the US government really isn’t counting these things. And as you probably learned in kindergarten, when you don’t count something, you don’t know how many there are. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), studies have suggested that somewhere between 10 and 20% of people who have had severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections may have ended up with long-term Covid. So even if the risk of hospitalization and death from Covid-19 isn’t as high now as it was in the last couple of years, you might want to put those premature statements that the pandemic is over on ice until there’s more clarity for the long Covid picture. .

WHO defines long-term Covid, also known as Post-Covid-19 Condition, as “the continuation or development of new symptoms 3 months after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, with these symptoms lasting at least 2 months with no other explanation. So if you go by that definition, presumably Toews has had symptoms for at least two months. Toews did not specifically mention how long he had Covid symptoms. The list of possible symptoms is long, very long. In fact, there are over 200 different possible symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists some common long-term symptoms of Covid that fall under general symptom categories such as life-altering fatigue and fever, respiratory and cardiac symptoms such as difficulty breathing, coughing, pain in the chest and irregular heart rhythms, neurological symptoms such as “brain fog”, headaches, sleep problems, strange sensations and change in smell or taste, depression or anxiety and digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach pain.

It looks like Covid will, at least temporarily, derail Toews’ ice hockey career, a career that has been quite illustrious since he was selected as the third pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. It took him just two years to captain the Blackhawks and just four years to be named the 2010 Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. That was the first time he helped lead the Blackhawks to the title. Yes, I said first time. He enjoyed doing it so much that he did it twice more in 2013 and 2015. Toews also won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award in 2015. This season hasn’t exactly been bad as Toews already had 14 goals and 14 assists in 46 games. But he will probably have to wait a while before adding those numbers.

You may have noticed another term in Toews’ ad: chronic immune response syndrome. This isn’t the first time Toews has mentioned the term. After missing the entire 2020-21 NHL season, Toews posted the following tweet with a video on June 30, 2021:

In the video, he explained, “I think there’s a lot of stuff that built up where my body just fell apart.” He went on to say: “So what they’re calling it is chronic immune response syndrome where I just couldn’t recover and my immune system was reacting to everything I did, any kind of stress, anything I would do during the day. It was always kind of a stress response.”

Now, searching PubMed for “chronic immune response syndrome” returns the following response: “Cited phrase not found in phrase index: ‘chronic immune response syndrome’”. medical or scientific terms. This term has been advanced by those in integrative medicine. It’s still a bit of a nebulous term. While scientific studies have identified many different situations in which your immune system does not function properly or even overreacts to various external stimuli, there still do not seem to be enough well-constructed, peer-reviewed scientific studies to define more clearly what exactly is “chronic”. immune response syndrome” is or how such a condition should best be managed. Therefore, for now, record “chronic immune response syndrome” under the category “needs further scientific study to define and characterize”.

Unfortunately, Toews may have a long road ahead of him. It remains unclear how long different Covid symptoms tend to persist. In short, many political leaders don’t seem to care about the long Covid. Instead they seem to be trying to check the entire response to the Covid-19 pandemic and act like the pandemic is over. Of course, no legitimate public health authority has declared the end of the pandemic yet. And what has been seen with the long Covid so far may just be the tip of the iceberg.

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