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Asthmatic? Meet The Athletes That Prove You Can Do Anything



You may think that asthma and sports should never be discussed simultaneously, but dozens of sport’s figureheads have excelled at what they do, despite being an asthma-sufferer. Here is just a small selection of athletic names, but first a lesson on exercise-induced asthma.

What Is Exercise-Induced Asthma?

Exercise-induced asthma shares many symptoms with regular asthma (such as shortness of breath and chest tightening), but it often occurs in people who do not suffer from the latter. For this reason, it is alternatively known as exercise-induced bronchospasm.

People with exercise-induced bronchospasm have lungs that are sensitive to cold air, and as many individuals tend to breathe using the mouth while they are active, more cold air enters the lungs.

Let’s take a look at some superstar athletes who suffer from asthma but don’t let it stop them.

Case Study: Paul Scholes

The outgoing Manchester United midfielder has appeared on the pitch over 400 times, and that’s just for the Premier League. He’s scored more than 120 goals over the course of his career, all whilst suffering from exercise-induced asthma.

Scholes has also participated in both international and European tournaments. In short, he’s living proof that asthma can’t stop you from going wherever you want to go.

Case Study: Paula Radcliffe

A three-time winner of the London and New York marathons and current holder of the women’s world record, Paul Radcliffe’s asthma knows no boundaries.

She holds a vast collection of gold, silver, and bronze medals, and has taken part in Cross-country and European championships, to name but a few.

Case Study: Justine Henin

At the time of her diagnosis (age 25), Justine Henin was ranked as the number one female tennis player in the world. A four-time winner of the French Open and two-time winner of the US Open, Henin has been widely praised for her speed, footwork, and one-handed backhand. Many big names in the field have also heartily expressed their appreciation for her.

Henin has retired from professional tennis twice. Interestingly, she pulled out of the sport for the second time due to an elbow injury, not asthma.

Case Study: Marlon Devonish

With a collection of medals spread out across the Commonwealth, World Championship, and Olympic Games, Marlon Devonish is another athlete who has proven any doubters wrong. His most widely recognized achievement stems from the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Not letting his asthma hold him back, Devonish was part of the relay team that grabbed the gold medal for Britain in the 4×100 meters relay, beating the favorited US team by just 0.01 seconds.

How To Deal With Exercise-Induced Asthma

Exercise-induced asthma can be dealt with simply and swiftly so that it never gets in the way of your exercise routines. Here are several actions that you can take:

1. Always warm-up before any sport or exercise and increase the intensity gradually. A 10-minute session should prevent any problems from occurring.

2. If you plan to exercise outdoors when it is cold, take precautions and dress warmly. Cover your mouth and nose to trap warm air around you.

3. Use an inhaler containing either salbutamol or terbutaline approximately 15-20 minutes before exercising. This has been very effective among athletes with exercise-induced asthma.

Asthma doesn’t, and shouldn’t, stand in the way of your determination; if the professionals can deal with it, then so can you.

Do you have asthma? How do you keep this under control whilst exercising? Share your advice in the comments section.