PURPOSE: Asthma is a chronic medical condition characterized by airway inflammation, which may manifest clinically as difficulty breathing during an asthma attack (AA). Of those suffering from asthma, athletes may be at increased risk for developing an episode as exercise is a common trigger. As such, a coach's knowledge and awareness of the disease is important to each asthmatic athlete. The purpose of this needs assessment is to ascertain what level of understanding coaches have about asthma and how prepared they are to identify need for and deliver basic emergency asthma care.
METHODS: This project was approved by the Winthrop University Hospital Institutional Review Board. A questionnaire was administered to coaches of different competitive levels and sports (n = 122), from the Nassau County/Long Island Area to evaluate asthma knowledge and practice.
RESULTS: Thirty five percent of our participants believed that they had adequate training to help an athlete suffering from asthma. One half could not recall any symptoms or could identify only one symptom of an athlete suffering from an asthma attack, while only a quarter could recall a single action to aid an athlete during an AA. Over 80% of the coaches stated that athletes are responsible to carry their own inhalers. However only 42% of coaches reported that they are advised when an athlete has medicated themselves due to asthma related symptoms. Furthermore, respondents state that only 51% have taken either a Basic Life Support or First Aid Training course in the last two years, and that over 70% have no immediate access to medical assistance during practices or games.
CONCLUSION: This study identifies a need for additional education about asthma in both community and school based coaching staff .
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: This survey confirms that coaches are not always aware of student athletes who premedicate for their sport or who use rescue medication during their sport suggesting that decision about participation may be made without appropriate or complete clinical information.
DISCLOSURE: Mary Cataletto, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information