In a recent study from the Minnesota Department of Health, it was found that 58 percent of middle and high school students in the state are involved in sports.
In light of this information, the Minnesota State High School League has announced that all coaches of high school-aged students will be required to complete an online training program entitled “Athletes and Asthma: The Coach’s Role.”
The 23-minute interactive training model includes animations and videos designed to teach coaches how to respond to real-life scenarios related to asthma.
According to Gail Brottman, M.D., pediatric pulmonologist at the Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, the likelihood of a student-athlete having an asthma attack during training is high.
“When their breathing isn’t good and they don’t have their rescue inhaler with them, that really puts them at risk for having an asthma attack,” Brottman told USA Today, adding that “there have been some deaths.”
Brottman says asthma is often exercise-induced, but that avoiding exercise isn’t the answer. Instead, athletes need to learn to control their breathing, and the new training model can help coaches to keep their kids safe.
“I think the reason why this is outstanding and that this is now a requirement is that there are many coaches where their children don’t have asthma,” Brottman said. “They don’t know anything about asthma, yet they are responsible for these kids’ safety.”
Edina girls' soccer coach Katie Aafedt, who recently completed the program, said a lot of the information was “a good reminder.”
“It’s important for coaches to know how to deal with it,” she said.