Living with Asthma

Asthma and Childhood Athletics

For too many years, children with asthma were largely held out of athletics due to concerns for their health and safety. Parents and doctors alike feared the possibility of a sudden attack that would create immediate and extreme danger. However, as the medical science industry continued to learn more about the disease and how to control it, more children were allowed to compete in sporting events, and that trend continues today.

This positive development provides benefits not only for children with asthma but also those who play with them, but that doesn't mean that those responsible for the child's well-being should proceed without some planning. Below is a look at a few basic steps to take before allowing a child with asthma to compete in an athletic setting.

  1. Speak to the child's doctor – Parents are clearly the parties who carry the most fear of their children who have asthma competing in athletics, and in order to assuage those concerns, they should speak to the child's primary doctor to learn more about the specifics of the type of asthma the child has and what restrictions and/or preventative/protective steps that should be taken before and during every practice or game.
  2. Come up with a plan – After learning what needs to be understood from the child's doctor, the parents of the child should formulate a basic plan regarding how to handle or to be ready for an onset of an attack during athletic competitions. For instance, a parent could be assigned as the person who holds the child's medication in case it's needed during the competition.
  3. Work with the coach – Any coach who does what he or she does for the right reasons will be open to whatever reasonable steps are necessary to help protect the child in case of an attack. Simply speak to the coach and explain what protective steps and plans are in place so that there isn't any confusion should an attack arise.
  4. Speak to the child – No child will understand what to do if an attack arises unless he or she has already learned what steps to take should this occur. For example, a child could be told ahead of time that if he or she suffers an attack to simply walk over to the parent with medication to receive immediate treatment.

As you see, as long as the child's asthma is not so severe that any exertion would be dangerous, there is no reason that a child with this disease cannot compete in athletics. All you need to do is learn, prepare and communicate and your child will be able to enjoy the same lessons and gain from the same experiences as any other child.