Page 118 - Athletic Health Handbook
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TEAM PHYSICIAN’S CORNER

ASTHMA AND THE ATHLETE

D. KYLE HOGARTH, MD ASTHMA IS AN INCREASINGLY COMMON
PROBLEM in America. In 1996, nearly 14.5 million Americans
IMRE NOTH, MD
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine were diagnosed with asthma, and 10.5 million were under the age of 45.1
University of Chicago Hospitals The mortality from this disease included 5,438 deaths in 1998.2
Chicago, Illinois
These numbers continue to climb and are likely under-counted. In
particular, asthma and it’s related entity, exercise-induced asthma (more
correctly referred to as exercise-induced bronchospasm [EIB]) can be a
severe problem for athletes, and a significant problem for the sports medi-
cine physician. Studies among high school athletes have concluded that
a substantial rate of unrecognized EIB exists, especially amongst urban
athletes, particularly from poverty-stricken areas.3 Studies before the 1984
Olympic Games showed 67 out of 597 (11 percent) American athletes
had EIB which was previously undiagnosed.4 Despite this prevalence,
the Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation, published jointly by AOSSM
and other sports medicine organizations, searches for EIB with only
one question.5 Recently, the unfortunate death of Rashidi Wheeler, a

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