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Football club helps with long Covid trial

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Some patients with long Covid in Staffordshire are to take part in a rehabilitation trial.

Birmingham City University and Burton Albion FC have teamed up to help 12 people regain their health and fitness, researchers said.

Long Covid can affect breathing and cause fatigue and memory loss.

The 12-week personalised programme will be trialled at gyms and Burton Albion's fitness suite, with participants being evaluated afterwards.

Dr Lewis Gough, senior lecturer in sport and exercise at the university who is leading the study, said: "We know that long Covid can have a seriously debilitating effect on fitness levels among people who previously didn't do much exercise, but also among those who led very healthy, active lifestyles.

"We'll be working with both categories to assess the impact long Covid has had and to tailor exercise programmes accordingly to get them back on the road to recovery."

More than 200 symptoms have been linked to long Covid, but some of the main symptoms are extreme fatigue, breathlessness, brain fog, and severe headaches.

In June, the Royal College of Nursing said patients were facing a postcode lottery across the UK when it comes to getting care.

The Staffordshire programme is part of a pilot being trialled in four locations involving local sports and wellbeing charity Together Active and the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as the Gym Group, which has provided use of its facilities, as well as the League One club.

The patients have been referred by clinicians from the NHS trust and are from a wide variety of backgrounds.

John Widdowson, community manager at Burton Albion Community Trust, said Covid had put a "strain" on the NHS and believed the approach being trialled could help.

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