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OSU Medical Center Helps Athletes With Asthma Get Back on The Field


Health:  Spring/Summer 2006

Imagine doing something you're good at, something you love, maybe something you feel you were meant to do. Then suddenly you're gasping for air. There's a tightness in your chest. You can't catch your breath. 

Unfortunately, that's a condition many athletes face when they compete. Known as exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB), a form of asthma, the condition is more common in athletes than in the general public. But many athletes don't realize that they have asthma and don't understand what is happening to them.

Jonathan Parsons, MD, research fellow in OSU Medical Center's Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, led a major study of EIB. The study, a collaborative effort with OSU Sports Medicine, found that, of 107 OSU varsity athletes from 15 sports, 40 percent had the condition.

"The vast majority had no history of asthma or breathing problems, so this was new knowledge for them," says Dr. Parsons. "EIB has been shown to occur in athletes in higher proportion than in the normal population, but no one had looked at this population of college athletes closely before our study."