ESPN’s Jenna Laine reveals diagnosis of pericarditis after COVID-19

ESPN reporter advises people with COVID-19 to beware of chest pain.

Jenna Laine, who covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the network, tweeted on Thursday that she had been experiencing chest pains after a mild case of COVID-19, and was revealed to have pericarditis.

Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of a thin sac-like tissue that surrounds the heart.

“I’ve been hesitant to post this for a while now for fear that people will think I can’t do my job and because COVID-19 is such a political lightning rod,” Laine wrote. “But I also believe in transparency and I think helping people is essential. I’m sure some of you have noticed that I haven’t posted much here for the past few months. It has been exactly 11 weeks since I tested positive for COVID-19 and since then I have suffered from pericarditis and pericardial effusion.

“The crazy thing is…my case of COVID was relatively mild. The worst was a very bad headache and fatigue. But I had persistent chest pain that wouldn’t go away and it got so bad that I was bedridden for several weeks. I’m trying like hell to get back in shape for boot camp (did a 20 minute walk yesterday with minimal leg cramps) and thank goodness I’m improving, but I’ll still be under treatment during the first weeks of the regular season.”

Jenna Laine, who covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for ESPN, revealed she was diagnosed with pericarditis after having what was originally a mild case of COVID-19.
Instagram / Jenna Laine

She added that she was in excellent physical condition and diagnoses of pericarditis do not always show up in initial tests.

“I hope those reading this take inventory during and after recovery from COVID-19 infection, and talk to your children about how they feel,” Laine wrote. “I also hope that the NFL and sports leagues from the youth level to the professional level provide and/or continue to provide cardiac screening before athletes return to play. I have been fully vaccinated and boosted (the vaccine does not didn’t cause this for me) and I did weight training and cardio 5-6 days a week.

“If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. I knew my body well enough to know something was seriously wrong. Chest pain should never be ignored. It also often takes multiple tests before you can diagnose pericarditis because it doesn’t always show up on blood tests and EKGs. So if you’re in pain or your child is in pain, be persistent. Don’t think of these things as anxiety.

Laine encouraged her followers to check in on loved ones who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and concluded with a wish that she will be be at Bucs training camp.

“Also, let’s be very clear on this…no matter what, I’ll be at training camp. If this heart medication keeps giving me occasional leg cramps or if I’m not ready for the 8,000 or so steps I take daily for camp, your daughter will find a scooter,” she tweeted. “I will be there.”