Olympic medals? Athletes with asthma are among the top recipients
It is also interesting to note that most of the medals attained by athletes with asthma were earned in endurance sports, rather than those considered “sedentary” sports (which are explained in the article as sports like boxing, wrestling and shooting that require strength or accuracy, but are not as demanding on the cardiorespiratory system2—I would also add archery or lawn bowling to this list, for examples), despite endurance sports being, without question, more difficult to train for and compete in for athletes with asthma and exercise induced asthma. This data was based on an application to use inhaled beta-agonist (rescue inhalers, albuterol/salbutamol) in competition, thus, little else can be inferred from this data.2
If you are already an athlete and then are diagnosed with asthma later in life, you’re not alone either—asthma does not have to curb down a successful competitive sport career in most cases. Fitch’s research reports that World Anti Doping Agency data demonstrates that a higher proportion of individuals applying for therapeutic use of asthma meds was developing among athletes older than age 25—in most sports, elite competition will begin much sooner than age 25—than individuals who had been diagnosed with asthma younger than 25 years.2
No matter where you are in your athletic career—professional or amateur, elite or just starting—an asthma diagnosis doesn’t have to prevent you from reaching your goals. And, as data shows, asthma is simply not a massive obstacle to a person’s ability to reach peak performance1 —we are not “overly disadvantaged by [our] medical condition”, and with the help of the right treatment, can be among the top competitors in the top athletic competitions.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.