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Many Coaches Unprepared for Student-Athletes' Asthma
Date:11/2/2010

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Only one in three children's athletic coaches reports being adequately trained to deal with asthma symptoms in kids, a new study found.

What's more, just one in two coaches knew more than one asthma symptom, according to the study, which was to be presented Nov. 1 at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Vancouver, Canada.

"We found that about 35 percent of coaches felt they already had adequate training to help an athlete when they were having acute asthma symptoms," said the study's lead author, Dr. Mary E. Cataletto, associate director of pediatric pulmonary medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

Nearly 10 percent of U.S. children have asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For many people with asthma, exercise or cold weather can trigger their symptoms. For most, those symptoms can be controlled, either by pre-treating before exposure to those triggers, or by taking medication during the activity.

Cataletto's study included 122 coaches who coached children between 6 and 18 years old in such sports as baseball, football, lacrosse, soccer and swimming. The coaches involved in this study had actively sought out the asthma education programs at Winthrop University Hospital, according to Cataletto.

One half of this group couldn't recall more than one asthma symptom, and only one quarter of the coaches surveyed could remember a single action they could take to assist an athlete who was having an asthma attack.

Those findings are disconcerting in light of the study's other findings, such as 70 percent of coaches reporting they had no immediate access to medical assistance during practice or games. And, just half of the coaches had taken either a basic life-support or first-aid training course during the past two years.

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