It’s easy to put famous athletes on a pedestal—their toned physiques and ability to obliterate fitness boundaries makes them seem superhuman. We also hear stories about famous athletes that overcame physical challenges like the loss of a limb, a chronic illness, or even partial loss of sight. A new study’s results should be encouraging for asthmatics worried about their ability to exercise—John Dickinson from Kent University discovered that 70% of 33 swimmers on the British Swimming Squad have some type of asthma. He also found that 30% of the cyclists from Team Sky have asthma.
A number of well-known American athletes have also had successful careers despite having asthma. Former NFL football player Jerome Bettis was diagnosed with asthma at age 15 and worried that diagnosis would end his athletic career. However, he stuck with his asthma treatment plan and went on to play for the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and win a Super Bowl championship. Olympic swimmer and six-time gold medalist Amy Van Dyken is another example of an athlete with a successful career despite an asthma diagnosis. Dyken was diagnosed with severe asthma as a child and her doctors recommended participation in sports as a way to make her lungs stronger and prevent against future asthma attacks.
The success stories of these athletes is an inspiration to asthmatics that are concerned that their condition will be a roadblock to an active lifestyle. Their stories also relay the importance of working with your doctor to develop an effective asthma treatment plan. If you need help adjusting to new equipment, check out our asthma instructional videos to enhance your treatment plan.