Atlanta United’s Martinez experienced heart issue related to COVID-19

Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez fires a shot on goal against Motagua FC during the first half of soccer in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Kennesaw, Ga. (John Amis/Special)
Caption
Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez fires a shot on goal against Motagua FC during the first half of soccer in the Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, in Kennesaw, Ga. (John Amis/Special)

Atlanta United striker Josef Martinez revealed Tuesday that he was diagnosed with a minor heart issue related to testing positive for COVID-19 while in Brazil.

Martinez said that doctors have said he is now fine. The team will play at Cincinnati on Wednesday, and Martinez said he is prepared to play.

The issue — Martinez didn’t go into specifics — was discovered during testing done to allow him to return to training with Atlanta United. One of the tests focused on his heart.

“I don’t think it was a very big problem, but it was something we have to be careful with,” he said. “Thanks to God it was resolved.”

Martinez declined to say if the heart issue was why previous manager Gabriel Heinze forced him to train away from the first team and didn’t include him in the game-day roster for Saturday’s 1-0 loss to New England at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“Decisions are decisions,” he said. “I’m dressed like this now because I’m ready to travel to Cincinnati.”

Martinez, who had been vaccinated against COVID, said he tested positive after playing for Venezuela against Uruguay in a World Cup qualifying game June 8.

He said he felt fine physically after starting and playing 78 minutes. He was happy with the team’s performance, a 0-0 draw. After testing positive, he spent the next 2-3 weeks in quarantine in a hotel in Brazil.

“Unfortunately this is a pandemic and things can be out of your hands,” he said. “When you are affected and experiencing it, you realize what it is actually like.”

Southern Fried Soccer

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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule

April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0

April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1

May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,

May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1

May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0

June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0

July 3 Chicago 3, Atlanta United 0

July 8 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

July 17 New England 1, Atlanta United 0

July 21 at Cincinnati, 8 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE