The jogger, from China, was rushed to hospital after his lung collapsed following a 2.5-mile run in Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, while wearing a face covering.
And he was forced to undergo major surgery after developing the potentially life-threatening condition.
Doctors are now urging people not to wear face masks while running – as a covering over your mouth and nose can make it harder to breathe.
Earlier this week, the UK Government advised that face masks should be used when on public transport or in shops where remaining two metres from others is difficult, in their 50-page roadmap out of lockdown.
However, their guidance says: “They do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising…or those who may have problems breathing while wearing a face covering.”
The Wuhan Central Hospital said the 26-year-old had been forced to cut his run short when he began experiencing difficulty breathing and chest pain last Thursday.
When his condition continued to deteriorate his family rushed him to the hospital for treatment.
On examination, medics found the man’s left lung had compressed by 90 per cent and his heart was moved to the right side of his body.
A collapsed lung, known as a pneumothorax, occurs when air gets into the space between the outside of your lung and the inside of your chest wall, your ribcage.
If air continues to get into this space as someone breathes, this can start to compress the other lung and heart – which can be life-threatening.
The hospital revealed that the patient needed surgery but is now thankfully in a stable condition.
What is a pneumothorax (collapsed lung)?
A pneumothorax is when air gets into the space between the outside of your lung and the inside of your chest wall, your ribcage.
A small pneumothorax may cause few or no symptoms. A large pneumothorax can squash the lung and cause it to collapse.
A pneumothorax can be small and get better with time. Or, it can be large and require urgent treatment. This depends on how much air gets trapped in the chest and if you have an existing lung condition.
The air that builds up usually comes from a tear on the outside of the lung. But air can also come from outside your body if you have a chest injury.
If the tear is small, it will close as the lung collapses down so only a small amount of air can escape. If there is a larger hole, then the lung may collapse down completely.
If air continues to get into the pleural space as someone breathes, this can start to compress the other lung and heart. This is called a tension pneumothorax and can be life-threatening.
Emergency treatment is needed to release the trapped air.
It’s more likely for men to have a pneumothorax than women.
A primary spontaneous pneumothorax, which is when a pneumothorax develops in an otherwise healthy person for no apparent reason, is more likely to happen in tall, thin people.
Source: British Lung Foundation
Health bosses believe the man’s burst lung was caused by the fact he was wearing a mask while out running.
The hospital said the man had been wearing a mask every time he went out running, since he took up the hobby two weeks ago, because of the severity of the pandemic in Wuhan.
Chen Baojun, director of the department of thoracic surgery at the Wuhan facility, said the man was already susceptible to a spontaneous pneumothorax because of his tall and thin frame.
Top doctor Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of Patientaccess.com, is now urging Brits not to wear a mask while exercising – as they can make it difficult to breathe.
Wearing a covering over your mouth and nose can make it harder to breathe if you’re exercising
Dr Sarah Jarvis
She told The Sun Online: “There is little or nothing to be gained from wearing a face mask outdoors unless you are in very close contact with other people.
“Standard face coverings (as opposed to formal personal protective equipment used by health care and other key workers, which the public shouldn’t be using) don’t protect you against the virus.
“The vast majority of air you breathe in goes round the sides and face coverings don’t filter out the virus.
“The reason they’ve been recommended in those indoor settings is because they may reduce the risk of you passing the virus on to others you’re in close contact with, if you’re infected but don’t yet have symptoms.
“Obviously if you do have symptoms you should be isolating at home.
“Face coverings are definitely not recommended while you’re running.
“You’re not in close contact with others and wearing a covering over your mouth and nose can make it harder to breathe if you’re exercising.”
Despite this, Dr Jarvis added: “There’s no clear evidence it would cause a collapsed lung, but it’s not necessary and it might have contributed.”
On Monday, Brits were told to wear face coverings in public to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Boris Johnson said that homemade masks should be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible or where you may come into contact with people from outside of your household.
The Prime Minister’s 50-page roadmap to get the UK out of lockdown says this includes public transport and in some shops.
The Department of Health said that after considering the latest scientific advice from Sage, face coverings can help reduce the spread of Covid-19.
They stressed that the evidence shows face coverings can stop you passing coronavirus on to others, if you are asymptomatic or have yet to develop symptoms.
It’s unlikely they will stop you catching the bug.
TfL also said all passengers and staff would need to wear masks on the Underground, and advised people avoided busy times.