If your child gets diagnosed with asthma, it means they need to use an inhaler to prevent symptoms like wheezing, chest tightness, and chest pain. Many children with asthma find their condition gets more severe when they’re active.
When your child has a desire to participate in sports, an asthma diagnosis means you need to ensure they’re safe when playing. The wonderful news is, the vast majority of children with asthma can play sports with the right measures in place.
Keep reading to learn from board-certified pediatrician Rainilda Valencia, MD, Micaela Marin-Tucker, PA-C, and Megan Reynolds, C-PNP, at Valencia Pediatrics in Victorville, California, how a sports physical and regular pediatric monitoring can help your child with asthma play sports.
How asthma impacts exercise
The way your child’s asthma impacts their athletic activities depends on their specific case of asthma. Some children have constant asthma that impacts them daily, while others have asthma that occurs as a response to a specific trigger, such as allergies or exercise.
If exercise makes your child’s asthma worse, they experience asthma symptoms when participating in vigorous athletics. However, the right medical interventions, such as using an inhaler before their activity or changing medications, can reduce your child’s risk of problems while playing sports.
Choosing a sport for a child with asthma
Some sports are better suited for children who live with asthma. If your child has asthma, the following sports are generally considered safe:
- Baseball and softball
Other sports come with greater risks, including:
- Any sport that involves vigorous activity for long periods
- Sports that take place in cold air
- Sports with long gameplay times
If your child’s asthma is triggered by allergies, such as insects or pollen, playing sports where they might encounter that allergen is also riskier.Your child might have a strong desire to play a sport that isn’t on the safe list for children with asthma. In many cases, by choosing the right safety plan and league, your child with asthma can still play the sport that interests them.
Sports physicals and playing with asthma
A sports physical is an exam our team conducts that checks if your child is fit to play a specific sport before the season starts. Many organizations require your child to get a sports physical before beginning their sport.
In a sports physical, our team evaluates your child's overall health, strength, and flexibility relative to their chosen sport. If your child has asthma, we also assess whether they can safely play.
Most children with asthma can play their sport of choice with a plan that keeps them safe. Our team might require your child, or your child’s coach, to carry their inhaler with them at all times and be trained on how to respond to an asthma attack.
We might also choose an asthma medication targeted at helping your child stay safe during vigorous athletic activities. A less intense league can also make it more possible for your child to play.
If our team can’t find a safe way for your child to play a particular sport, we help you and your child select another sport that’s safe for them to play. We aim to keep your child with asthma as active as possible, as safely as possible.
To schedule a sports physical or other appointment for your child with asthma, contact us by calling our office today.