If you are a coach with athletes on your team who have asthma, you could have questions. How much do I condition them? What should I do if they have an asthma attack? Do they need different workouts? This list of tips will help you coach athletes with asthma.
What Exactly is Asthma?
Some of your athletes may have asthma, and others could have exercise-induced asthma. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, when you have asthma your airways inflame and narrow, making it harder to breathe. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. This can happen because of allergies or be caused by other triggers.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, people who have exercise-induced asthma, or an exercise-induced bronchospasm, have symptoms only while they exercise. Most people with asthma have exercise-induced asthma, but people with exercise-induced asthma may not have full-blown asthma.
6 Tips To Follow
1. Know which players have asthma
Some athletes are afraid or embarrassed about having asthma, and they don't speak up when they have symptoms. Make sure you know exactly who has asthma and watch out for symptoms of an attack.
If an athlete has symptoms of asthma but has not been diagnosed, tell him or her to see a doctor to be checked.
2. Always make sure inhalers are easily accessible
Before practice starts, make sure everyone on your team who has asthma has their inhaler on the sidelines ready to go. The last thing you want is for one of your athletes to have an attack and be unprepared.
3. Know the best times for athletes to use their medication
According to Breathe Easy Play Hard Foundation, most cases of asthma are different. Some athletes may be required to take medication before practice, while others require it after symptoms occur. Know when your asthmatic players need to take their medication, and make sure they do it.
4. Know what can trigger an attack
Knowing what can trigger an attack can really help control your athletes' asthma. Allergy season can really flare up an athlete's asthma, so be especially alert to those times. Also, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, when it gets too cold outside, breathing in cold, dry air can trigger an attack, so maybe take a day to watch film or hit the weights.
A tip for exercising in the cold is to make sure your players warm up properly. As they warm up, their airways get used to the temperature. While they are exercising, they could also cover their mouths with something, such as a scarf or a face mask.
5. Never make them "push through it"
According to Breathe Easy Play Hard Foundation, if an athlete with asthma is having a hard time breathing, he or she needs to slow down or take a break. Always let them recover. There's no such thing as pushing through it. That can trigger a more severe attack.
6. Stay positive about their condition and always support them
Just because athletes have asthma does not mean they cannot perform to the best of their abilities. Make them feel like they are no different from your other athletes. They can do most exercises as long as they have their medication handy. Always support your players and help them control their symptoms by following these tips.
- Dealing with asthma and sports
- How a banana a day could help asthma
- When to change your pre-game warm-up
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