CHEST: Coaches Unprepared to Deal With Asthma Issues

Half of those surveyed could recall at most just one symptom of an athlete having an asthma attack

TUESDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Coaches of student athletes with asthma may be inadequately prepared to identify the need for and deliver basic emergency asthma care, according to data presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians, held from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4 in Vancouver, Canada.

Mary E. Cataletto, M.D., of the Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., and colleagues administered a questionnaire to 122 coaches of different competitive levels and sports to evaluate asthma knowledge and practice.

The investigators found that 35 percent of coaches believed they were adequately trained to aid an athlete suffering from asthma. However, half could not recall any symptoms or could identify only one symptom of an athlete suffering from an asthma attack. Only one-fourth could remember a single action to help an athlete during an asthma attack. Forty-two percent of coaches were advised when an athlete used medication for asthma-related symptoms. Only 51 percent of coaches took a basic life support or first aid training course in the last two years, and more than 70 percent had no immediate access to medical assistance during games or practices.

"This study identifies a need for additional education about asthma in both community and school based coaching staff," the authors write.

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