Cardona I, D'Alonzo GE Jr, Becker J. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2004;92:340–343
Purpose of the Study.
Nearly 90% of asthmatic patients experience exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB). This study investigated the level of preparedness for EIB in suburban children involved in recreational sports.
Five hundred seventy-nine children ≤12 old who were enrolled in a community sports league in Pennsylvania were studied. Seventy-four percent were male, and 96% were white. Four hundred sixty-four children (80%) played soccer, and 115 (20%) played baseball.
A 3-question survey was administered during a face-to-face interview with the parent or caretaker of the child.
Of the 579 parents/caretakers, 80 (14%; 63 for soccer and 17 for baseball) reported a history of physician-diagnosed asthma for their child. Of the soccer players, 16 (25%) had their inhalers immediately available, and of the baseball players, 2 (12%) had their inhalers immediately available, giving a total of 18 (22%) children having inhalers available.
More than 75% of children with asthma who participated in organized sports were unprepared for a potential episode of EIB.
This was a small pilot study, but it demonstrates that children with asthma who participate in organized sports may be unprepared for a possible asthma exacerbation. It is unfortunate that this study did not go further and explore asthma severity or the reasons why the families did not have a short-acting, inhaled β2-agonist available. I presume that, in this primarily middle-class/upper-middle-class community, there were no financial barriers to obtaining the medication or medical care. As physicians we need to emphasize to patients that exercise is a primary trigger of asthma and that patients should have their inhalers available when they participate in sporting events.