Johnson is wrong to claim that COVID vaccines kill athletes on the playing field

US Senator Ron Johnson. R-Wisconsin, once again making waves with its false claims on COVID-19

This time, Johnson, who recently announced his re-election campaign, went on the Charlie Kirk Show on January 26, 2022 to talk about COVID-19 vaccines.

“We heard story after story. All these athletes falling dead on the field,” he said during a conversation on the radio show about the adverse effects of the vaccine. “But we’re supposed to ignore that. Nothing happens here, nothing to see. It’s a travesty, it’s a scandal.”

It was a real dropper for us. All sorts of dead athletes on the pitch from the vaccine?

Is Johnson right?


Let’s take a closer look.

Fact check, doctors say claim is false

When asked to back up the claim, Johnson’s spokeswoman Vanessa Ambrosini told us the senator was alarmed by stories he’d heard of athletes dying on the field.

“The senator’s point in raising these issues,” she said via email, “has always been that our federal health agencies should be concerned about reports of adverse reactions related to COVID-19 vaccines and that ‘They should fully investigate and make their findings available to the Americans.’

Fair enough. But the claim was that there are stories of all kinds of athletes dying in the middle of a competition, or at least during training.

Patrick Remington, director of the preventive medicine residency program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the agency is already monitoring such things.

Johnson frequently cites a federal database of adverse events that people — from patients to doctors — report to the agency as possibly related to various drugs. But the database itself notes that the claims are not checked to establish a cause between them.

Remington said the CDC is looking for causation, not just the coincidence of two events occurring in close proximity to each other, such as a heart attack and getting a vaccine.

“It is up to credible scientists to investigate whether vaccination could be associated with this outcome, and no credible science exists to say so,” he said. “We continue to do ongoing monitoring, the vaccine monitoring system is in place to investigate any possible association that arises. But to date, I am not aware of any credible studies or research suggesting that vaccines cause the death in young athletes.”

Ambrosini also shared an article by which claims to list hundreds of young athletes who have died from the vaccine. The article has already been debunked in a Fact Check December 17, 2021 by

“We found no evidence of a causal link in any of the cases between vaccines and injuries or deaths,” the fact-checker said.

Johnson’s team also cited a December 23, 2021 article from the Daily Mailwhich suggested that the heart problems of two Premier League football players – who did not die – were linked to the COVID vaccine.

But these claims have also been debunked. A Reuters Fact Check June 2021 discovered that Christian Ericksen’s collapse during a game was not the result of a vaccine. At the time of the collapse, Erickson was unvaccinated and not sick with COVID.

As for Sergio Aguero, the other soccer player, his cardiologist said the cardiac episode the player experienced was likely caused by a small scar on his heart, according to an article from December 17, 2021 in the Irish Post. The scar, he said, was likely caused by another virus at some point in the player’s life, but was in no way related to COVID or the vaccine.

Additionally, other fact checks have examined similar claims.

Days before Johnson went on the Charlie Kirk Show, former NBA star John Stockton on January 23, 2022 claimed that more than 100 vaccinated professional athletes had fallen dead “on the court, on the court, in the field”. ”

PolitiFact National assessed this fake during a fact check on January 26, 2022. In it, Matthew Martinez, sports cardiologist for the National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer and who is director of sports cardiology at Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, said he was not aware of a single COVID vaccine. -cardiac complication related to professional sport.

Other doctors have made similar statements.

The article went on to explain that a rare risk of myocarditis appears to be higher after COVID-19 infection, citing a study that found boys and young men infected with the virus are up to six times more more likely to develop heart disease than those who received the vaccine. In other words, being vaccinated reduces this risk.

The CDC says it has not detected any unusual or unexpected patterns of deaths following immunizations that would indicate vaccines are causing or contributing to deaths, outside of the nine confirmed deaths as a result of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine . These deaths were the result of a rare and serious adverse reaction involving blood clots, called thrombosis.

But that’s far from hundreds, and that’s a far cry from Johnson’s claim that “all these athletes” die on the playing field.

Our decision

Johnson claimed “all of these athletes are dropping dead on the field” after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

But similar claims have been repeatedly debunked – doctors have not encountered any athletes who have died from the vaccine. And the doctors of the two European footballers quoted by Johnson staff said these cardiac episodes were not caused by the vaccine.

There’s also the obvious problem with these cases, as they relate to supporting Johnson’s claim, in that the two athletes aren’t, well, dead.

Finally, health experts have also stated that there is no research showing the link between sudden death incidents in athletes and vaccines.

We rate this claim as false.

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