Dominique played professional basketball for the Atlanta Hawks, and was on the NBA all-star team in 1987, 1988, 1990, and 1991, and a basketball Hall of Famer.
He is quoted as saying, “Asthma is not a disability.”
His believe is that parents should do what they can to get their children playing sports and that asthma should not be a deterrent. Wilkins reminds parents that an asthma action plan and asthma management can help your children achieve their sports dreams.
Frank is the all-time leading scorer in soccer for Chelsea, and has been named as player of the year three times. He went on to play for Manchester City and then New York City FC, and retired in 2016.
He began suffering from asthma as a teen.
Lampard is quoted as saying, “My dad suffered from asthma and so did I as a kid. I used to suffer in games where I’d have attacks.” Despite this fact, he had one of the most illustrious football (soccer) careers ever, proving it is possible to be an elite athlete with asthma.
For all you dancers reading, here’s one for you!
Robert Joffrey is a legendary dancer, teacher, producer, choreographer, and co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet. His ballet company was the first to perform at the White House.
Joffrey took up ballet as a child at the insistence of medical advice – his doctor believed it would help him control his asthma symptoms due to the breathing techniques taught. It taught him that, plus gave him an illustrious career.
Paula is a marathon runner and holds 10 world records for her long-distance running prowess. You would think that running long distances would be difficult due to asthma – but she manages.
Paula reportedly uses a preventative inhaler twice daily – once in the morning and once at night. She uses a rescue inhaler before exercising. She is quoted as saying, “If you learn to manage your asthma and take the correct medication, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be the best.”
Dana Torres is a record-breaking swimmer. She became the first US swimmer in history to compete in five Olympics, spanning from 1984 to 2008 and has won 12 medals.
But it hasn’t always been this illustrious. In fact, she actually retired at the age of 25. She had breathing problems since childhood due to a perceived chlorine allergy and it became too difficult to shoulder on. However, eight years later, at the age of 33, she had Olympic aspirations again and went in for a pulmonary work-up – and was found to have asthma.
At that time, Dana began a daily maintenance regimen her quality of life improved, as well as her level of performance.
Prior to an event, she uses fast-acting bronchodilator. She also uses her daily inhaler about two hours before an event. She ensures proper care of herself during illness, as her asthma becomes worse in these scenarios.
Dana says, “I like hearing their stories. I hope what I’ve done has helped inspire other people to do things they thought they were too old to do.”
The "Asthmatic Advantage"
Maybe you’ve heard the term “asthmatic advantage” before.
The “asthmatic advantage” is the supposed performance enhancing effect from asthma medications – meaning, a puff or two from the albuterol inhaler may improve athletic abilities temporarily. Theoretically could be the reason why some of the athletes mentioned above are so elite.
As an asthmatic who has attempted many athletic pursuits, I’ve never considered having asthma to be an advantage.
Fluke or Flawed Research?
This theory spurs from the possibility that salbutamol may affect certain people differently if they have a genetic variant, making it so that the salbutamol gave them an “extra boost.”
The University of British Columbia, as well as several other research facilities, have debunked this theory. It appears that intense exercise improves respiratory function, as well as warming up before exercise.
Which means that all of these athletes, as well as others with asthma, are well-conditioned athletes who have learned to manage their condition.