PURPOSE: Asthma prevalence is significantly higher in athletes than the general population. Asthma can result in significant morbidity in young competitive athletes. Asthma guidelines emphasize that asthma education and written asthma treatment protocols improve clinical outcomes for all asthmatics. We sought to determine if the presence of a pulmonologist on staff of NCAA collegiate sports medicine departments influences adherence to asthma management guidelines.
METHODS: We obtained the email address for 3200 athletic trainers affiliated with an NCAA athletic program via the National Athletic Trainers Association membership roster and distributed an asthma management survey utilizing the Survey Monkey web program. Results were analyzes using Pearson's chi-square test to evaluate for significant associations and all p-values were adjusted by Holm's procedure for multiple testing. p values < 0.05 were considered significant.
RESULTS: Surveys were emailed to 3200 athletic trainers, with 800 email addresses found to be inactive. Surveys were sent to non responders two more times with a total of 541 surveys completed for a response rate of 23 %. Only 22% of responders report having a pulmonologist on their sports medicine program's staff. Sports Medicine programs with a pulmonologist on staff are significantly more likely to: have a written protocol for asthma management; have a formal asthma education program; and have albuterol and/or peak flow meters readily available during all practices and games (all p values < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: A minority of athletic programs have a pulmonologist on staff. The presence of a pulmonologist increases the likelihood of a program's adherence to national guidelines for asthma management, which likely improves clinical care of athletes with asthma.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: In order to provide the most effective care for athletes with common chronic diseases such as asthma,collegiate sports medicine programs benefit from a multi disciplinary approach.
DISCLOSURE: Vincent Pestritto, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information