The Brave New World of Athletes’ Heart Problems
The taboo pandemic.
One of the world's best soccer players recently and inadvertently issued a frightening warning to the world, though neither he nor the world probably recognize it as such.
Argentina's Sergio Aguero announced his retirement Dec. 15 after suffering a heart attack six weeks earlier during a game. While playing for FC Barcelona on Oct. 31, Aguero bent at the waist, experienced breathing problems, grabbed his lungs, lay on his back and received treatment from trainers before going to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed him with an irregular heartbeat.
Aguero -- who played for Argentina in three World Cups and set Manchester City's career scoring record -- is 33. In two decades as a professional, Aguero never previously experienced heart problems that kept him off the field.
What did they have in common? The vast majority, if not all of them, received the experimental COVID-19 vaccines based on mRNA spike proteins. That relationship appears not to be coincidental, despite attempts to dismiss the possibility.
Aguero, who contracted the disease in January, not only received an injection. He recorded a brief public-service announcement advocating that everyone 12 and older should get vaccinated. But Aguero's unexpected heart attack represents a more powerful message than the one he intended.
Aguero thus joins such fellow soccer players as Manchester United's Victor Lindelof, the captain for Sweden's national team. On Dec. 11, Lindelof, 27, had to leave a game after complaining of chest pains and an accelerated heartbeat.
"Lindelof was in respiratory distress for about 10 minutes," United coach Ralf Rangnick said. "His heart rate was higher than normal. He was shocked and didn’t know what to do."
In July, a 16-year-old weightlifter from Singapore collapsed from heart failure after lifting heavy weights. Six days earlier, he received his first dose of Pfizer's vaccine. Information on the vaccine's insert warned that the shot could increase the risks of myocarditis and pericarditis "particularly within seven days following the second dose."
Myocarditis occurs when the heart muscle itself becomes inflamed. Pericarditis results when the tissue around the heart swells.
Two cyclists, road racer Greg Luyssens and mountain biker Kyle Warner, developed heart problems after receiving a second dose of Pfizer's vaccine. In September, the 22-year-old Luyssens had to retire after experiencing heart failure during a race. In June, the 29-year-old Warner contracted pericarditis.
"I fear that my career has officially been ended," Warner told a Senate committee in November. "I have been bedridden, unable to work and unable to exercise for months."
British ballroom dancer Maxwell Harrison, 21, also developed pericarditis after his second Pfizer dose. Leading British cardiologists told Harrison that the vaccine led to the condition. Harrison, previously a contender for international honors, now cannot compete for 8-to-12 months.
Health experts are noticing. In November, the American Heart Association warned in a study that mRNA vaccines "dramatically" increase acute coronary syndrome, which the Mayo Clinic defines as "a range of conditions associated with a sudden, reduced blood flow to the heart." Symptoms include chest pain and shortage of breath -- which Aguero and Lindelof experienced.
The study specifically mentions a dramatic inflammation of the endothelium and an increasing number of T-cells in the heart. The endothelium, a thin membrane that lines the heart, produces chemicals to control clotting, the contraction of blood vessels and the immune system. Excessive numbers of T-cells in the heart can prove fatal.
On Dec. 4, Japan's health ministry also warned that Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines could increase heart inflammation in young men. The ministry will order hospitals to report whether patients developed such problems within 28 days after their vaccination. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now admit that pericarditis and myocarditis are side effects from the two manufacturers' vaccines. Those side effects develop usually in young men and usually after the second dose, the CDC reported.
But in response to personal tragedies and scientific findings, some suspicious things are happening.
Aguero's personal cardiologist, Roberto Peidro, said the Argentine foward's heart attack had nothing to do with either COVID-19 or the vaccine. Instead, a small scar less than a millimeter long caused an irregular heartbeat.
Peidro has been treating Aguero since 2004, when the forward began experiencing heart palpitations as a 16-year-old player in Argentina.
"What was done using a catheter was to burn that area where the arrhythmias were coming out," Peidro said. "We burnt that arrhythmia but this one is completely unrelated and much less benign. The most common scenario is that the small scar found is produced by a virus he's suffered at some point in his life and wasn't ever detected. But it has nothing to do with COVID or the COVID vaccine."
Peidro's comments make no sense, especially given Aguero's productivity and expense. Before retiring, Aguero ranked fourth among the Premier League's all-time scorers and third in career scoring for his national team.
In 2014, Aguero signed a five-year contract extension with Manchester City worth $57.2 million. He followed that in 2019 with a two-year contract worth more than $30 million.
During Aguero's career, Manchester City won five league championships and finished second in the UEFA Champions League, the world's most prestigious club competition. Aguero also helped Argentina win the 2008 Olympic gold medal and the 2021 Copa America, South America's championship, and helped his homeland finish second in the 2014 World Cup.
Any experienced cardiologist treating such a valuable player for nearly two decades would make a point to defuse any potential problems before they arose. Is Peidro admitting that he missed this "much less benign" scar that he said caused Aguero's heart attack?
Like Peidro, British cardiologist Sanjay Sharma, who works with several Premier League clubs, also denied the possibility of mRNA vaccines causing heart problems, despite claiming to keep an "open mind" on the issue. Sharma is considered the country’s leading sports cardiologist.
"It's worrying that there is suddenly a whole load of young men who are supposed to epitomize the healthier segment of our society suddenly crashing with cardiac problems," Sharma said. "Is there an issue? Are people being tested properly? Is the game doing it? Is there something in the air to cause an increase? I'm keeping an open mind. My feeling is that this is probably a statistical cluster rather than something on the rise.
"Everyone is jumping to the conclusion that it is COVID-related or, even worse, that vaccine-related myocarditis may be responsible."
In November, Israeli medical journalist Yaffa Shir-Raz reported that since December 2020, the number of soccer players worldwide who suddenly died increased 500 percent, to 183. Most died from heart problems or blood clots. But when confronted with the information, FIFA, international soccer's governing body, said it knew nothing about those deaths.
"FIFA is not aware of a rise in episodes of cardiac arrests, and no cases have been flagged in relation to individuals receiving a COVID vaccine," a spokesman told Reuters. "Generally speaking FIFA is in regular contact with leading research centers and experts to do research on a variety of medical topics." (emphasis added)
Given how compromised many of those authorities might be, would they want to tell FIFA something that could hurt their own pocketbooks?
In December, Pfizer purchased Arena Pharmaceuticals for $6.7 billion in cash. Arena is developing two heart medications. One, temanogrel, treats damaged smaller blood vessels in the heart. The other, APD 418, improves the heart's ability to pump blood in patients with acute heart failure. Both are being used in clinical trials and have not yet been approved.
By purchasing Arena, is Pfizer admitting that its mRNA vaccines have dangerous coronary side effects? If temanogrel and APD 418 receive approval, does Pfizer plan to increase the price to make more profit? Or will Pfizer discontinue research into those medications?
Matt Le Tissier wants answers. Le Tissier, who played in both the English Premier League and England's national team before becoming a television analyst, demanded a national investigation during an interview with GB News.
"Even saying that deems you to be some kind of anti-vaxxer, which is absolutely disgusting," Le Tissier said about the name-calling from mRNA vaccine advocates. "It’s been very concerning for me watching the sport that I love and I played for 17 years. In all that time that I played I never once saw any footballer leave the pitch because of heart issues.
"It might not be to do with the vaccine, it may not be, but let’s have an investigation to find out what it is. I want just some information, I want people to take a look at what is happening in football, have a proper investigation and give us some answers as to why so many sports people are suffering with heart issues. It’s not difficult."
It is, however, if the powers-that-be want nobody to know why.
Joseph Hippolito is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to FrontPage Magazine. His commentaries have appeared in The Federalist, The Stream, Wall Street Journal, Jerusalem Post and National Post.