Having a child with asthma can be a nerve-wracking proposition for any parent. When that child wants to also be an athlete, however, there are added concerns. Is this safe? What precautions should we take? Are there sports to avoid and sports to encourage? The following information will help parents make the best decisions for their own child with asthma.
Sports with Built-in Breathing Breaks
Participating in sports is a fantastic way for children to strengthen their lungs which will make breathing easier. When choosing a sport to pursue, asthmatics should consider those with built-in downtime, however, in order to give their lungs some rest times. Baseball, football, and gymnastics are all physically demanding but also have times of rest. Sports such as cross-country running, cycling, or soccer are not out of the question for asthmatics who have their symptoms under control, but they may be too taxing on the lungs for others as they require a lot of long stretches without downtime.
Cold, Dry Air is Not Recommended
For asthmatics, the condition of the air they are breathing can trigger breathing issues. Figure skating, ice hockey, and skiing all involve exposure to cold, dry air, so if asthmatics wish to participate in these sports, additional therapies and/or medications may be necessary.
If the above sports don't work out for your child's Asthma needs, there are still sports in which they can participate. Golf is a competitive team sport that isn't taxing on the
lungs. And don't forgetting about swimming. Although it may require a lot of stamina, the warm, humid air is much better for asthma sufferers.
Preparing for Sports
Regardless of which sport your child chooses to pursue, being an asthma parent means added preparation. Coaches, teammates, and fellow team parents should be made aware of your child's asthma in order to respond appropriately if your child needs a breathing break or if they suffer a flare-up of symptoms. Additionally, you should consult with your child's doctor before starting any new activities. They will make sure any medications are current and may have some suggestions for managing symptoms during sporting practices and games. Having asthma does complicate athletic activity, but there is no reason it needs to keep a child from participating in sports. In fact, asthma is the most common chronic condition of Olympic athletes. With the right preparation and monitoring, your child can enjoy sports and even become a world-class athlete.