Can My Children Play Sports If They Have Asthma?

If your child has asthma, then like many parents, you may be on the edge of your seat worried about a possible attack. And if your child wants to play sports, you obviously don't want to put them in a situation where it's even harder for them to catch their breath. However, the good news is the National Library of Medicine says that regular activity can help strengthen lungs and reduce asthma symptoms for many people. While it may sound counter-intuitive to sign your child up for a sport, it could actually be beneficial. Of course, you should always talk with a doctor, allergist, or asthma specialist, and the like before diving in. And, you'll want to keep the following points in mind:

Find Sports That Aren't Played During Peak Allergy Seasons

For many asthma sufferers, their symptoms tend to get worse when certain allergens are in the air, such as pollen. If your child hasn't been tested for allergies yet, now's the time to do so. For instance, says that the late summer/early fall is the peak season for ragweed. So if your child has tested positive for ragweed, you'll know that they need extra care during those months--or if they're case is severe, they can take a break during that time and resume sporting activities during other months. Check out sites like for more information about allergy issues.

Choose the Right Sport for Your Child's Condition

What sports should or shouldn't be played isn't always intuitive. For example, you may think your child can't do track and field events. Yet, star athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee had asthma and still went on to be an Olympic gold medalist in the long jump and heptathlon! If your doctor gives consent, running may be a great thing for your child. Other activities to try include things like yoga, baseball, and swimming.

However, there are some sports that may need to be avoided, such as ice hockey and cross-country skiing. These kinds of activities have one thing in common: cold temperatures. Cold air is typically drier and can irritate and constrict the bronchioles.

Keep the Coaches in the Know

Although some parents are overly cautious, others may not see their child's asthma as a serious threat if they haven't experienced an attack in awhile. However, it's in your best interest to always talk with your child's coaches so that they know what to do in case of an emergency. Provide them with detailed instructions for any inhalers/medications and double-check these emergency kits before each practice/game.