THE ATHLETE AND MEDICATION
The Committee on Drugs unites with the Joint Committee on Physical Fitness, Recreation, and Sports Medicine in condemning the use of drugs to improve athletic performance. However, the Committee on Drugs would like to clearly distinguish between the promiscuous use of drugs and their pharmacologic use to control a specific disease state enabling the adolescent to participate in sports, for example, the use of insulin for diabetes, anticonvulsants for epilepsy, digitalis for heart disease, or bronchodilators for asthma.
Children and adolescents with handicaps should be given the same advantages as other children, including participation in athletic activities. Athletes with medical conditions controlled by drugs should not be placed in the same category as youths taking drugs for other purposes, and there should be minimal, if any, restrictions imposed on them. One recent example of the type of restrictions which should not be imposed is the athlete with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction who was disqualified in the 1972 Olympics in Munich because he used a bronchodilator prescribed by his physician. Exercise-induced bronchospasm is a common handicap of allergic youth, and may occur in between 60% and 80% of individuals with allergic respiratory distress.1 Such bronchoconstriction can be modified by the administration of theopylline,2 theophylline ephedrine combinations,3 or cromolyn sodium.4,5 The Committee on Children with Handicaps also recommends that children with asthma participate in sports and physical education and that every effort be made to minimize restrictions.6
At the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy in Washington, D.C., February 14, 1973, the following resolution was approved unanimously: "Participants in competitive athletics with asthma and other allergic conditions should not be disqualified because of the use, with medical supervision, of therapeutic doses of ephedrine before and during athletic competition."7
- Copyright © 1973 by the American Academy of Pediatrics