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Health experts urge athletes to get heart screenings after COVID-19 recovery

Experts say new research has sparked concerns about potential heart failure among COVID-19 survivors.

PHOENIX — Editor's Note: The above video is from previous coverage on the effects COVID-19 has on the heart. 

Health experts urged athletes of all ages to have a cardiac screening if they have recovered from COVID-19 in a press release Thursday. 

Banner Health cited new research that shows potential heart damage as an after effect from the coronavirus. 

The virus could cause harm in the way the heart functions due to the body's inflammation. Experts say this research has sparked concerns about potential heart failure among COVID-19 survivors. 

"Recent cases are showing that athletes who have overcome a viral infection such as COVID-19 can result in an inflammatory response that can potentially cause structural damage to the heart," said Dr. Steven Erickson, medical director for Banner Sports Medicine and Concussion Specialists.

RELATED: Doctors warn COVID-19 could damage heart muscle

This inflammation is known as myocarditis, which is usually caused by a viral infection and is becoming more common among student-athletes who have recovered from COVID-19, according to Banner Health experts.

"Myocarditis can affect the heart muscle and its electrical system, reducing the heart's ability to pump, causing rapid or abnormal heart rhythms, also known as arrhythmias. This can be dangerous for athletes especially for those who play competitive sports," according to Banner Health.

Dr. Michael Perez, a pediatric cardiologist, said those who have fully recovered from COVID-19 are having health issues. 

"We are seeing patients with signs of inflammation and scar formation in their heart even after recovery," said Perez. 

Perez said competitive athletes that have recovered from COVID-19 and plan to resume training and competing in sports should be evaluated by a doctor.