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

percent of coaches felt it was the athletes' responsibility to carry their own medication.

"Most coaches felt students or their parents should be responsible for carrying medication," said Cataletto, who added, "Most didn't want to be directly involved in administering the medication."

But, oftentimes, children or teens don't let their coaches know if they're self-medicating. Just 42 percent of the coaches said they had been told when a child had taken medication for asthma symptoms, according to the study.

Dr. Jennifer Appleyard, chief of allergy and immunology at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, said: "This study tells me that as a doctor and a parent, I should be more concerned with what's going on in sports, and I think coaches should know more about asthma. It's a very common and potentially life-threatening condition."

Dr. Shean Aujla, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, echoed Appleyard's concern. "Asthma is the most common chronic disease in kids. And, you can have mild asthma, but still have a severe asthma attack and end up in the hospital," she said.

What's of even more concern, said Aujla, is that she's heard from some parents that coaches are pushing their asthmatic children, and not letting them come off the field to take medication or to rest, if necessary. Or, teens may not want to stop playing, and they may ignore their symptoms.

All three experts said it's clear that more education of coaches is necessary. Parents need to talk with their child's coaches and make sure that the coach understands asthma and what symptoms to look for in their child.

Aujla said she sometimes writes letters for her patients that explain what asthma is, why it's important that the child receive his/her medication, and how that medication should be given during sports. She said sometimes it helps to have the physician back-up.

Said Cataletto: "Parents should talk to the coach i
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