Sunderland boss claims Covid vaccine could be to blame for player’s ‘inflamed heart’

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson claims the Covid vaccine could be behind his goalkeeper Lee Burge’s exclusion from playing with an ‘inflamed heart’ – and says ‘it often happens after those injections – as 25% of EFL players continue to dodge the jab

  • Lee Johnson has suggested the Covid hit could be to blame for Lee Burge’s heart problem
  • Burge, 29, was ruled out of action for five weeks due to an ‘inflamed heart’
  • British Heart Foundation found ‘rare cases’ of heart inflammation after stroke
  • But Johnson said it ‘seems to be happening a lot after these injections or Covid’
  • Data released by the EFL in December showed 25% of players were still unpitched











Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has claimed the heart problems affecting his goalkeeper Lee Burge could have been caused by his Covid vaccine.

Burge, 29, has been ruled out of action for the Ligue 1 side for up to five weeks due to an “inflamed heart”.

The goalkeeper was one of several Sunderland players to contract Covid-19 in early January but, while the others returned to action, Burge was unable to do so due to a persistent heart problem .

Lee Johnson has claimed the heart problems affecting Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge could have been caused by a Covid blow

Goalkeeper Burge has been ruled out of action for five weeks due to an ‘inflamed heart’

The goalkeeper was one of several Sunderland players to contract Covid-19 in early January

The goalkeeper was one of several Sunderland players to contract Covid-19 in early January

According to The Mirror, Burge was told as part of his treatment that he should not let his heart rate exceed 100 beats per minute during light training sessions.

Research from the British Heart Foundation says there have been ‘rare cases of myocarditis’ – inflammation of the heart muscle – after people received the Moderna Covid vaccine.

Cases are found “even more rarely” in members of the public who have received the Pfizer vaccine.

Of these cases of myocarditis after a Covid hit, the British Heart Foundation found they were ‘generally mild’ with heart function ‘returning to normal’ in most.

But Johnson said in his pre-match press conference on Friday that it “seems to be happening a lot after these injections or Covid.”

The 40-year-old said: “It seems to happen a lot after these injections or Covid.

“The weighting would be on Covid but you can’t rule out, I guess, vaccination.

“I don’t know, I’m not a doctor. I get the information and the first thought is the player. Is he fit and well and surviving it well and has a long career.

Johnson then retracted his view slightly, admitting it was “probably Covid” that caused the problem.

He added: “It’s probably a bit controversial. I do not know the answer. I would be ill-advised to quote like that.

“Burge wasn’t particularly happy with how he felt during that time. It could be a crossover when he had Covid and when he had the vaccine. It’s not clear what caused it, it’s probably the Covid.

Burge played nine times for the Black Cats, including their League Cup loss to Arsenal

Burge played nine times for the Black Cats, including their League Cup loss to Arsenal

“He has 4-5 weeks where he has to keep his heart rate below 100 bpm and have blood tests and hope it goes back to normal.

“The care of the individual must be at the fore. Respect goes to the physio and doctor department. We don’t want anything terrible to happen. Any sign of a heartbeat or not feeling well and we have the right checks and he is reported and should fully recover.

Data from December showed around 75 per cent of players in the EFL – in which Sunderland play – were fully vaccinated, had a single shot or intended to be vaccinated.

Double-vaccinated players totaled 59%, 16% were scheduled to receive the vaccine, while 25% of players did not intend to be vaccinated at the time.

Burge has been widely used as a substitute for Sunderland’s No.1 keeper Thorben Hoffman this season.

However, he played nine times for the Black Cats, including in December’s League Cup quarter-final loss to Arsenal.

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