Living with Asthma

Well–Known Athletes with Asthma

Asthma is a disease that affects more than 20 million people in the United States, and for many years, it was widely assumed that those who suffer from this condition had no hope of living an athletically active life. Many children were prevented from competing in any sort of athletic pursuit out of fear of attacks.


However, now that much more has been learned about asthma in general, most have come to realize that as long as some basic managerial and preparatory steps are taken, there is no reason that someone with asthma cannot compete and in some cases excel in athletics. Below are just a few of the many examples of well-known athletes who have asthma.

Jackie Joyner–Kersee

None other than the person that Sports Illustrated voted as the greatest female athlete of the 20th Century has asthma. Joyner-Kersee was an Olympic athlete and won a total of six medals, three of which were gold.

Dennis Rodman

Most know Dennis Rodman as one of the most unique and even strange characters to ever play in the NBA, and many also know that he won five NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls. Some also consider Rodman to be the greatest rebounder of all time. However, few people seem to know that he has asthma.

Jerome Bettis

"The Bus" is a beloved figure and was an NFL superstar for many years with the Rams and the Pittsburgh Steelers, capping off his Hall of Fame-worthy career with a Super Bowl championship in his hometown of Detroit. Bettis also overcame asthma to become one of the leading rushers in the history of the NFL.

Dominique Wilkins

"The Human Highlight Reel" was a true NBA superstar during his long career, which was mostly played with the Atlanta Hawks, and his dazzling displays of pure athleticism were truly a sight to behold. Wilkins also controlled his asthma throughout his career with just as much success.

Greg Louganis

Louganis is thought by many to be the greatest diver in the history of the sport. He won gold medals in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, and despite his level of celebrity, few ever knew that Louganis has asthma.

As you see, some of the best athletes in the world have asthma, and it clearly didn't slow them down. Gold medals, Super Bowl titles, NBA championships. these are rare and distinguished accomplishments for any person, let alone those with asthma. If you have this disease, do not consider it a lifelong limitation – it can be overcome.