As certified athletic trainers we deal with many athletes, parents, coaches and colleagues who have varying degrees of asthma. While we typically know something about the condition, how much and how well do you know asthma?
Here is a little quiz for you.
- Do you know the law in your state about students being permitted to carry a controlled substance such as their inhaler with them in school?
- Did you know there is a federal law requiring schools to make certain that asthmatics have all the same opportunities as other students?
- On average if you have 30 athletes on your softball team, about how many of them may be asthmatic?
- How many asthmatic triggers can you name?
- Do you know the signs of an asthmatic episode? How about the signs of an asthmatic emergency?
- Does your school have an Emergency Action Plan that covers severe asthmatic episodes during the school day? after school? Is the EAP clear about duties and responsibilities?
- Can physical education class, sports, exercise actually cause an asthmatic episode?
- Do you know the Rule of Two’s ?
Question 1: check with your nurse or health officer to see how your district reflects the law of your particular state.
Question 2: the Individual with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA) and Section 504 are federal laws that require arrangements to be made to include all students, even those with disabilities like asthma, to participate in all the educational experiences.
Question 3: about 3 or 10%
Question 4: indoor: dust, furry/feathered animals, mold, food allergies, strong odors/fragrances, poor air quality, temperature/humidity, tobacco smoke, illness/infection, exercise/sports and strong physical expressions of feelings
Question 5a: cough, shortness of breath, mild wheeze, tight chest, exposure to a known trigger. Remember being "winded" from exercise is different than "wheezing".
Question 5b: chest sucking in/neck muscles bulging, difficulty or discomfort when breathing, nasal flaring, trouble walking and/or talking, breathing does not improve or is worse after quick reliever medication is used
Question 6: check with your nurse, supervisor, central administration
Question 7: yes
Question 8: Does your athlete use a "quick-relief inhaler" more than Two times a week? Do they awaken at night with asthma more than Two times a month? Do they refill their "quick relief inhaler" more than two times a year? Does their peak flow drop more than Two times 10 (20%), when experiencing asthma symptoms? If, "yes" to any of these, your athlete may be clinically out of control. Have them see their physician. Rules of Two is a federally registered service mark of Baylor Health Care System. ©2008 Baylor Health Care System.
Having tools to assist your athletes with asthma should be of paramount importance to you. Check out tools and texts to help you by visiting Sports Health's asthma category >>.
Phil Hossler, ATC has been an athletic trainer on the scholastic, collegiate and Olympic levels. He has authored 4 books and numerous articles and served as an officer in state and regional athletic training associations for 20 years. He is a member of four halls of fame including the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s.