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Research has found that around three out of ten football players from prominent football clubs in England suffer from exercise-induced asthma (EIA), a type of asthma caused by vigorous exercise and heavy breathing.
Researchers from the University of Kent examined the lung health of 97 football players from various leading football clubs in the country during pre-season. Examination results revealed that 27 athletes who participated in a breathing challenge displayed signs of airway problems, which are indications of EIA. On the other hand, 10 of the 27 athletes showed no asthma history or airway problems.
Athletes who tested positive for EIA then underwent medication. As a result, their lung performance improved and EIA symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness were reduced.
The researchers, who presented the study’s results during the British Thoracic Society’s Winter Meeting, are urging football clubs to carry out a lung health screening for athletes. British Thoracic Society chairperson Dr. Lisa Davies stressed that lung screening is important for athletes because it will help them detect and cure possible airway problems, especially to those who participate in sports involving intense lung activity.
Although high-intensity sports like football can trigger EIA, athletes with asthma can still tolerate certain types of sports. Activities like volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, wrestling, and walking are considered safe for EIA patients because these sports require only brief and sporadic moments of exertion. Swimming, in particular, is also highly recommended for those with asthma because it is usually done in environments that are warm and have moist air.