Joshua Kimmich was finally able to come out of quarantine at the end of last week and resume light training after spending the better part of the past month at his home.
Kimmich had to pull out of Germany’s camp during the last international break after coming into close contact with someone who might be positive for coronavirus and then subsequently tested positive himself shortly thereafter. He’s missed Bayern’s past six matches across all competitions against Augsburg, Dynamo Kyiv, Arminia Bielefeld, Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona, and Mainz. Due to what’s been referred to as “lung infiltration” discovered in scans, Kimmich will not play until 2022 for Bayern as a precaution.
Kimmich himself said he was feeling fine, even after doing some light training, but Dr. Ingo Froböse from the German Sport University Cologne recently explained to Bild the reasons why the club is taking every precaution possible with the lung infiltration (Tz). The novel coronavirus has a tendency to cause inflammatory responses in the body’s organs, which can cause a number of different issues, some of grave concern. “The Bavarians have announced ‘a slight infiltration’ so that they don’t have to say exactly what exactly is behind it. There are a number of corona consequences, often pneumonia, which then results in infiltration. As a rule, it is about liquid, in almost 80 percent of cases as a reaction to inflammatory processes - here after the immune reaction as a result of COVID-19,” Froböse explained.
Albeit probably only temporary, Kimmich, like others who have suffered from the virus, will have nowhere near the same V02 max capabilities that he’s otherwise used to. The inflammation and infiltration in the lungs can be severely complicated if too much stress is added too quickly, which could subsequently effect the heart’s myocardium. “The consequence of the infiltration is that the lung volume is no longer available to the maximum. The body reacts to the infiltration, so inflammation is to be expected. If the stress is too early, this can lead to massive consequences — including inflammation of the heart muscle,” Froböse elucidated.
While the risk might still be relatively low for added stress causing severe inflammation issues for Kimmich, Bayern’s physios and doctors want to take absolutely every precaution to not the risk of causing any issues. It’s absolutely the right protocol for Kimmich, as Froböse stated, “because they often start much too early and do not cure infections properly, and because they reach their limits more quickly and stress their organs more quickly. That is the most important thing: Infections have to be cured! That is why the break is now absolutely right for Kimmich. Other organs must be spared, especially so as not to affect the important heart.”
Of course, as Froböse had previously urged in prior discussions with Bild, the risk of infection and inflammation would have been lower if Kimmich had made the decision to receive vaccination against the novel coronavirus. The midfielder had cited concerns he had as to why he did not want to get vaccinated against the virus when he was pressed about the issue. While he certainly has a right to be concerned and make his own decision, he’s missed a crucial stretch for Bayern and Froböse worries that there’s a high risk for further complications. “Kimmich could have problems with his joints — that would be the lesser of two evils. The big evil would be other organs — and since the heart and lungs are so closely connected because the lungs supply the heart, the risk of heart muscle inflammation is significantly greater. This is a serious consequence for an athlete, which would usually take him out of circulation for at least six months,” he explained.
Karl Lauterbach, Federal Minister of Germany for Health also chimed in on Kimmich’s situation, saying that it’s “no small feat” when someone like Kimmich falls ill. He also provided his best wishes for the midfielder. “Such a case shows, of course, how dangerous the infection is. And still, it’s no small feat when someone like Joshua Kimmich falls ill. I think it’s wrong to make accusations here. I hope he gets back to full health and can really deliver the performance again in the national team that he’s always been able to deliver,” he said.