Sport makes an important contribution to the physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of South Africans. The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on communities globally, leading to significant restrictions on all sectors of society, including sport. Resumption of sport can significantly contribute to the re-establishment of normality in South African society.
We are a multi-coded Federation and our athletes are mostly in the hands of the other sports federations as they are all members of mainstream sports clubs and train and play at these clubs. The exceptions are the National Transplant Games and the World Transplant Games.
All our athletes have had organ transplants and should self- isolate regardless of the lifting of the national lockdown.
Before their transplant procedure, organ recipients are in a similar category of risk as a result of infection, as the elderly or other debilitated patients. After the transplant, they are at a much higher risk than other high-risk individuals, as the immunosuppressant drugs “render them immune incompetent”. As transplant recipients, we daily take immunosuppressant medication which lowers our body’s natural immune system.
The immunosuppressant or anti-rejection tablets suppress the body’s ability to fight any foreign organism, including the new organ, by lowering the number of white blood cells, integral to the human immune system.
The Covid-19 disease is among the most easily transmitted viruses around, hence the global response to promote social distancing and basic hygiene.
There is “no rule” about what transplant recipients should do to avoid infection apart from the social distancing and basic hygiene protocols which apply to everybody.
It is “a safe bet” that transplant recipients must stay at home – “not a strict lockdown but with a lot of precautions” until a vaccine became available. (Taken from the SATSA – Return to Play Guide, Covid-19 Policy)