Working Together to Prevent Injuries in Youth Sports

victoria2We’ve all been there: getting hit or knocked down during a game and saying “I’m fine!” instead of taking a seat on the bench and determining whether or not we are really injured. No player wants to let the team down or feel weak for admitting that he or she is hurt and in need of a break, but this mentality can actually hurt a player even more down the line. According to, a youth sports injury that results in a visit to the emergency room occurs once every 25 seconds. This adds up to about 3,397 children in the hospital every single day. Safe to say, youth sports injuries are not uncommon and need to be taken seriously. That number would be even higher if more players were willing to admit their pain and take the necessary steps to find out how to heal it, but this would at least prevent further damage or repeated injuries of the same kind from happening. 54 percent of athletes said they have played injured, and 42 percent of athletes have admitted to “hiding or down-playing an injury during a game so they could keep playing”, according to This practice of hiding injuries needs to be curbed so that children stop repeatedly playing on an injury, and putting themselves in even more danger.

At the beginning of the season, players need to be told by the coach to come forward and be honest if they are feeling less than okay and ground rules should be set to agree on how the team will approach injuries. It also becomes the parents’ responsibility to report to the coaches in the event that their child has admitted to feeling pain, or has been diagnosed by a doctor and given specific instructions about how to treat an injury. Similarly, the coach needs to be open with the parent and inform them that their child has been injured during a practice or a game so that the parent can take the necessary steps to keep their child healthy and safe. Considering that 62 percent of organized sports-related injuries occur during practices, according to, it is clear that many injuries occur when the parent is not around to witness them, making communication necessary.

bundleWhile the responsibility does lie on the player, we cannot always trust that children will take an injury as seriously as they should or that they will be open with both their coach and parent and admit to one. According to, less than half of coaches are certified and know how to prevent and recognize sports injuries, while 53 percent have said they’ve felt “pressure from a parent or player to put an athlete back in the game” after an injury. To make the playing field a safer place, coaches need to be certified or, at the very least, aware of the health issues of their players, just as parents need to focus on their children’s health rather than their goal count.

What all of this comes down to is communication. The gaps between players and parents, players and coaches, and parents and coaches leave room for more harm. A player who tells his parents that his ankle hurt during the last practice and gets a note from the doctor that he should skip gym class should not be playing in their soccer game the next day. The player might not want to tell their coach about this for fear of being benched, but the parent should recognize the importance of resting for their child’s safety and keep the coach informed. Similarly, if a player was complaining of dizziness during practice and had to sit out, the coach should report this to the parent so that they can go to a doctor or keep an eye out for their child. If a coach or a parent doesn’t know there is something wrong with the child, then they have no way of fixing the problem. Where communication stops is where injuries can go from bad to worse. The more aware that parents and coaches are about a player’s injuries, the more help and support they can give. When players, parents, and coaches work together, athletes are kept safer and the team becomes stronger as a whole.


Will This Safety Program Be As Common as a Helmet?

Michael Buono has been coaching youth sports for years, and like many parents and volunteers, he has no medical training. But he’s still the first one to help a child if they get injured on the field. Does the child have any pre-existing conditions? Are they diabetic? Asthmatic? Who’s to know.

So he developed SafetyTag, a program that creates player safety files for each child, displaying their unique health conditions. Why is little Johnny gasping for air? Peanut allergy? Asthma? The coach can know in seconds by looking at Johnny’s SafetyTag file — which says that his inhaler is in his blue backpack.

Buono said that the program is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant (likely because the parents fill in the information themselves and medical professionals aren’t the ones sharing and using it.) With 26 million kids playing youth sports, he sees a big market.

“We’re hoping leagues mandate it in the future,” said Buono, “just like a cup and a mouthpiece.”


Source: Shelly, Jared. “Will This Safety Program Be As Common as a Helmet?” Philadelphia Magazine. N.p., 18 June 2015. Web. 18 June 2015.

Emergency Planning With Asthma, Allergies and Celiac Disease


No one knows when an emergency will hit and being prepared will help reduce the risk of additional problems – especially for those with asthma, food allergy or celiac disease. Whether wild fire, hurricanes or floods are driving you out of your home, there are few basics that can save time and stress in any evacuation situation.

Keep your gas tank full and create a plan of where you will go if you need to leave in a hurry. Shelters and well-meaning friends may not be asthma or allergen aware. Instead, research and identify a location that provides accommodations with a kitchen or cooking facilities. Designate an out-of-town contact person to call in the event of an emergency. Family and friends can help to save your smart phone’s battery by calling this person instead of you.

Basic Emergency Supplies

Keep a duffel bag within easy reach that is filled with basic necessities. It should include the following:

  • List of accommodations including phone numbers and addresses
  • Flashlight and fresh batteries
  • Battery operated radio (note: solar may not work if skies are dark)
  • First aid kit
  • Blankets
  • Manual can opener
  • Canned foods, energy bars and shelf-stable foods that are safe and satiating. Individually packaged items such Sunbutter packets, rice or soy milk boxes are good on-the-go choices.
  • Disposable bowls, plates, forks, spoons, cups and napkins
  • Bottled waters and electrolyte drinks (one gallon of water per person per day)
  • Ziploc bags for trash and to keep foods fresh
  • Grooming items such as allergen-safe soap, toothpaste and shampoo
  • Hand wipes and sanitizers
  • Whistle
  • Car chargers for phones
  • If applicable: pet-care items, baby items, feminine products

Important documents to store in fire and/or waterproof containers:

  • Cash in the event there are no ATMs or banks open
  • Important documents, such as insurance, medical records, passports, deeds, wills and other hard to replace information

Be Medically Prepared

Emergency kits require a few extra items and careful planning for those with asthma, allergies or celiac disease.

  • Emergency Action Plans for food allergy, asthma or other disease. Stress during an emergency may cause you to forget simple procedures.
  • Medical Information Sheet detailing physician names and contact information, health insurance provider account number and contact data, prescription drug list with pharmacy name, refill numbers, name of prescribing physician, dosing and frequency.
  • Supply of prescription medications, such as epinephrine auto-injectors, asthma maintenance drugs, inhalers, nebulizer medications.
  • Over-the-Counter medications, since stores may be closed, such as antihistamines, eye drops, fever reducers.
  • Portable battery-operated nebulizers with car adapters.

For Wild, Wet Weather

Dealing with hurricanes, flooding or drenching? Switch to a waterproof duffel bag and load it with:

  • Waterproof bags for food and electrical items
  • Waterproof hard cases for medications
  • Rubber or waterproof boots
  • Extra clothing

When Things Get Hot

Bandana to dampen and place over mouthWild fire and compromised air quality challenges? Pack the following:

  • Respirator or strong face mask for those with severe asthma (see physician to better understand what type to purchase)
  • Eye goggles to protect eyes from irritation

Keep your Emergency kit fresh and replenish every few months.

Source: Moassessi, Caroline. “Emergency Planning With Asthma, Allergies and Celiac Disease | Allergic Living.” Allergic Living Emergency Planning With Asthma Allergies and Celiac Disease Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 June 2015.

Asthmatic? Make sure you’ve an action plan

ASTHMA sufferers have been told to ensure they have an action plan to manage the disease which kills one person in Ireland every week.

Asthma affects 470,000 people in Ireland, said Sharon Cosgrove, of the Asthma Society of Ireland.

Studies have shown that having an action plan in place reduces hospital admissions and emergency room visits. 79pc of visitors to asthma nurse clinics did not have an action asthma in place.

Ireland has the fourth-highest incidence of asthma in the world affecting one in 10 people and one in five children.

You are four times more likely to go to hospital with your asthma if you do not have an asthma action plan. This places additional strains on already overstretched hospitals that could be reduced substantially through improved access to asthma care at a community level.

Boots Ireland is offering to help people with the disease to draw up an action plan.

Boots healthcare development manager Susan O’Dwyer said: “Many parents and children could benefit from readily available asthma support services, including their local pharmacist or the Asthma Society of Ireland’s Asthma Adviceline to better improve their asthma.”

Source: “Asthmatic? Make Sure You’ve an Action Plan –” N.p., 19 May 2015. Web. 19 May 2015.

How to breathe easy during asthma month


The month of May is perhaps one of the best times to be a Georgia resident. Temperatures are on the rise, summer break is beckoning, and fireflies return to our yards – just to name a few. But along with the good comes the bad, and this is case it’s pollen and smog – two of the biggest contributors to asthma attacks.

May is National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, and Dr. Mark Kishel, senior clinical officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, answers some of the most important questions related to this condition:

Q: Why is the summer typically the worst time of year for asthma?

A: Asthma sufferers should always be aware of their condition and potential for wheezing, but this is particularly important during the summer. That’s because one of the more common environmental factors that can trigger attacks, air pollution, is at its peak when temperatures rise. Allergens, such as pollen and mold spores, are also common asthma triggers, and pollen counts are typically high this time of year.

Q: Why does air pollution affect people with asthma?

A: In Georgia, air pollution – or smog – is mostly made up of ground-level ozone and particle pollution. Ozone is a reactive and irritating chemical that can inflame your airways and decrease airflow. Particle pollution can lodge inside your lungs and aggravate your respiration. Smog is not great for anyone to breathe, but particularly folks with asthma.

Q: Why does pollen affect people with asthma?

A: Asthma attacks are often brought on by allergic reactions, and pollen is one of the most prevalent allergens. Allergies affect everyone differently, so it’s important to work with your doctor to develop a plan tailored to avoid your specific triggers. Your doctor may recommend a variety of strategies, from avoiding the outdoors when the pollen count reaches a certain limit to getting allergy shots.

Q: What can asthma sufferers do to stay safe during the summer?

A: The most important thing to do is pay attention to the daily Air Quality Index and the pollen count levels in your area. These can usually be found in local weather reports, but you can also sign up for an alert service, such a Smog Alerts from Georgia Commute Options. If the count is expected to be high, limit strenuous outdoor activities. If you do need to be outside, be aware that the afternoon is the worst time of day for air quality.

Q: How can I tell if my children have asthma?

A: About 12 percent of children in Georgia suffer from asthma, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. However, it can be difficult for parents with kids under the age of 5 to diagnose. If your child is experiencing shortness of breath or coughing a lot, call their pediatrician to schedule a checkup. The doctor will ask about symptoms and family history, and may also conduct a breathing test.

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, you need to develop an action plan with your pediatrician. Asthma affects people in different ways, and your doctor will work out a plan that includes the proper medicine and routines to keep your child safe.

Source: Kishel, Mark. “How to Breathe Easy during Asthma Month.” The Marietta Daily Journal. N.p., 17 May 2015. Web. 17 May 2015.

What does it take to control your asthma?


Anyone who has asthma is all too familiar with the onset of an asthma episode, more popularly known as an “asthma attack.” This may start off as a mild tickle or an “itchy feeling” in the upper chest followed soon enough by the urge to cough. The cough then persists and becomes more bothersome at night or early in the morning, resulting in sleep disturbance. Daytime symptoms then manifest as chest tightness and breathlessness on exertion and, as the problem worsens, shortness of breath, even after doing usual daily activities.

The typical chest “whistling” or wheezing may not be audible to the asthmatic, but if it occurs, the asthma attack is likely under way. The enormous impact of poorly controlled asthma on the lives of millions of asthma sufferers is well known, from missed work or school days, to hospital admissions, and worse, death.

During an asthma episode, the walls of the airways become inflamed and swollen causing narrowing or “bronchoconstriction.” This occurs because asthmatic airways are “hyperreactive” or “hyperirritable,” and react easily upon contact with various triggers. Knowing whatever triggers one’s asthma and staying away from them may help minimize asthma episodes. Strict avoidance measures may not be so easy, however, since many asthma triggers such as allergens, irritants, stress, weather changes and common colds are part of our environment and our daily lives.

Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled with proper treatment so it no longer becomes bothersome. Asthma control is the key to preventing asthma episodes. With good asthma control, most asthmatics can lead a healthy, normal life. Working with the doctor through regular checkup to get asthma under control is the first step. Learning to recognize when asthma is getting worse and monitoring one’s peak flow rate are important components of a management plan. A decreasing peak flow rate may signal an impending attack. An asthma action plan that details what to do in such instances will enable the asthmatic to adjust medications in order to catch the episode before it becomes full-blown, and help determine how bad the attack is and when to seek consult.

When there are no asthma symptoms, this does not mean there is no more asthma. Asthma control requires managing asthma in the long term. The most effective way to do this is by taking medicines, called controllers, that target the “irritable” airways by suppressing the inflammation and keeping the airways open. Additional medicines called relievers can then be taken on an “as needed” basis for quick relief when “breakthrough” asthma symptoms occur, however, if you are taking your reliever more than twice a week, it is a good indication to visit your physician.

Dr. Dina Diaz is the past president of the Philippine College of Chest Physicians, past president of the Lung Center of the Philippines’ Physicians Association and board member of the American College of Chest Physicians, Philippine Chapter. The A to Z of Health Information Advocacy is a joint initiative of a group of medical specialists and supported by AstraZeneca Philippines aimed at raising public awareness on various diseases and providing health information and updates to the healthcare community.

Source: Diaz, Dina. “What Does It Take to Control Your Asthma?” N.p., 7 Feb. 2015. Web. 7 Feb. 2015.

5 tips for traveling with allergies

1 Plan early and choose hotels wisely. Understand your allergic triggers and research the best accommodations based on those needs. For example, having a kitchen in your room will be useful for preparing your meals if you have a food allergy and do not plan to eat out. Some hotels also now have special technology to remove many environmental allergy triggers.

2. Air travel accommodations. Inform the airline of your food allergies when booking and ask to review their allergy policy. Inform the flight attendant of your allergies when boarding and bring cleaning wipes to clean the seat and tray tables.

3. Eating out while traveling. Call ahead to ask about food allergy policies and inquire about safe alternatives. Speak to the chef and share your food allergies. Consider visiting chains that have food allergy policies in place.

4. Rental car caveats. If you plan to rent a car, request a nonsmoking vehicle and make sure it has been cleaned. Pack safe snacks and meals for the ride in case there are no safe restaurants along the way.

5. Be prepared for foreign affairs. Find out if your insurance policy covers out-of-country medical services. Carry a copy of your allergy or asthma action plan and an extra supply of your medications. Make sure you have important information translated into the appropriate language in the event medical services are needed. Wear medical identification jewelry and know where the nearest hospital is located.

Source: Winders, Tonya. “5 Tips for Traveling with Allergies.” Florida Today. N.p., 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 26 Jan. 2015.

Asthma action plan will help during emergency


Asthma is a complicated and serious disease. It can behave differently from hour to hour and from day to day. A person with asthma needs a plan for what to do at each stage of the disease. I’ll describe the elements of the plan in a minute, but first a little background on asthma itself.

Asthma assaults the lung’s airways. The airways are the tubes through which the air you breathe enters and leaves your lungs. During an asthma attack, the airways get narrower as the muscles surrounding them constrict. The airways also become inflamed, and mucus fills the narrowed passageways. As a result, the flow of air is partially or completely blocked.

A mild asthma attack may cause wheezing, difficulty breathing or a persistent cough. Symptoms of a more severe attack can include extreme shortness of breath, chest tightness, flared nostrils and pursed lips.

Two types of medications are used to treat asthma: controllers and relievers. Controllers — usually inhaled corticosteroids — are medicines taken regularly to reduce the likelihood of asthma attacks. They reduce inflammation, which decreases mucus production and reduces tightening of airway muscles.

Relievers, or “rescue” medications, are used just during asthma attacks. They stop or reduce the severity of the attack by relaxing the muscles around the airways to improve airflow. Bronchodilators are often used as rescue medications.

Everyone with asthma should have an asthma action plan. This is a written plan that details what you need to do to control your asthma. It also explains what to do when you experience asthma symptoms or in case of an emergency. You may feel that you already know this information, but when you or a loved one is struggling to breathe, it helps to have a set of written instructions to refer to.

Asthma action plans are often divided into “zones.” You should be able to tell what zone your son is in from his symptoms. The action plan will tell you what you need to do in each zone. For example:

Green zone: Doing well. No coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath; can do all usual activities. Take prescribed long-term controller medicine.

Yellow zone: Getting worse. Coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath; waking at night; can do some, but not all, usual activities. Add quick-relief medicine.

Red zone: Medical alert! Very short of breath; quick-relief medicines don’t help; cannot do usual activities; symptoms no better after 24 hours in yellow zone. Get medical help now.

People live with asthma for many years and come to know a lot about it. So a written asthma action plan may seem unnecessary. But in my experience, people who suddenly get sick sometimes forget to take the steps they know they should. A written asthma action plan can be a valuable reminder at a moment of trouble.

Source: Komaro, Anthony. “Dr. K: Asthma Action Plan Will Help during Emergency.”Tulsa World. N.p., 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 Jan. 2015.

Ask a Doc Several factors can trigger asthma attacks


While walking up a flight of steps recently, I heard what sounded like someone whistling at me. While I was flattered at first, I turned around to see the person behind me taking a puff on her inhaler. She had developed some wheezing brought on by the exertion of climbing the stairs. She mentioned to me that she had been diagnosed with asthma and was having a particularly bad day given the heat and humidity we had been experiencing at that time.

Asthma is a condition in which the airways become inflamed after exposure to various triggers. The result is narrowing of the airways due to spasm and excess mucus secretion. This can make breathing difficult by causing chest tightness, chest congestion, cough, wheezing and/or shortness of breath.

The first thing to understand is that each of these symptoms may be seen not only in asthma but in a multitude of other diseases and conditions. People who experience any or all of these symptoms should see their doctor. The diagnosis of asthma is made by pairing a thorough clinical history and exam with a simple non-invasive pulmonary function test.

Once the diagnosis of asthma is established, you and your doctor can than determine the optimal treatment and develop an asthma action plan which is the course of action you will take when you feel that your asthma symptoms are flaring up.

For some people, asthma is no more than a nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities.

Clinically, asthma severity is broken down on a scale of least to most severe as follows: mild intermittent asthma, mild persistent asthma, moderate persistent asthma and severe persistent asthma. Each asthma patient falls into one of these categories based on the frequency of their symptoms.

There a few key things that you can do to minimize the likelihood of developing an asthma attack, the first of which is to identify the triggers that generally lead to your symptoms. Asthma comes in several forms, a few of which include:

* Exercise-induced asthma, which is precipitated by exertion and may be worse with extreme heat or cold. Humidity may also predispose to exercise-induced asthma symptoms.

* Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust.

* Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by particular allergens, such as pet dander, cockroaches, grasses or pollens.

Asthma treatment is broken down into maintenance therapies and rescue therapies. In a nutshell, maintenance therapies are meant to prevent symptoms, while rescue therapies are are meant to treat symptoms that have already developed.

Inhaled steroids are the mainstay of the maintenance class of therapies. Other classes of medications are available as add-on therapy if the inhaled steroids alone do not adequately prevent asthma symptoms.

The rescue therapies are fast-acting bronchodilators, which serve to open up the airways but do nothing to alleviate the inflammation that causes them to spasm and secrete mucus in the first place.

In recent years, a few novel therapies have been developed for the treatment of the severe persistent class of asthma. An injectable medication known as Xolair can help to alleviate symptoms in some of these cases. Finally, the FDA has recently approved a medical procedure, known as bronchial thermoplasty, designed to improve asthma symptom control and is an exciting treatment option for the right patient.

In summary, if you have any of the above symptoms, be seen by your doctor. If a diagnosis of asthma is established with a thorough history, physical exam and pulmonary function testing:

1. Attempt to identify and avoid, when possible, all known triggers.

2. Take all of your asthma medications as prescribed

3. Keep an asthma action plan that will be the course of action you are to take if and when you suffer an asthma attack.

Regardless of the asthma severity in any particular patient, attacks can occur and be severe unless treated in an appropriate and timely manner. Treatment may help you breath better and, more importantly, may save your life.

Source: Saltin, Corey. “Ask a Doc Several Factors Can Trigger Asthma Attacks.” – Sentinel & Enterprise. N.p., 28 Oct. 2014. Web. 28 Oct. 2014.

Death rate among children suffering from asthma soars because of ‘complacency’ over life-saving medication


The number of children who have died from asthma attacks in the past two years has sky-rocketed, new figures have revealed.

The latest New South Wales child death review found that in the last 10 years, 20 children have died from the respiratory disease but the alarming figure is that half of those deaths occurred in the past two years.

It was also found, there were more deaths in 2010, 2012 and 2013 than in previous years and more than two thirds of those children were male, twice the rate of  girls for the same period.

In most cases, it’s been put down to complacency, the children who died from asthma had factors that may have increased their risk of death.

These included sub-optimal level of asthma control, insufficient follow-up after a hospital visit, poor adherence to recommended asthma medication or action plans and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Surprising figures in the past two years have seen the number of children dying from asthma attacks has increased in NSW

The report states the majority of the children had more than one risk factor, while insufficient follow up after a hospital admission was a factor for eight children who did not visit a doctor.

For four children, it was unclear who in the family was overseeing the child’s asthma management.

While in relation to the fatal asthma attack, in six cases there were indicators that the child or the child’s family may not have recognised early signs that asthma symptoms were slowly worsening, or may not have fully appreciated the severity of the child’s condition.

NSW Asthma Foundation CEO Michele Goldman says the figures are surprising since there has been a downward trend in childhood related deaths in the last decade.

‘They show asthma is not being taken seriously, some deaths could have been prevented,’ she said.

‘The foundation strongly advises people to take asthma more seriously, making sure children have an asthma action plan in place and preventative measures are taken regularly (because some people get caught out).’

‘When the child does start to expose symptoms, something must be done within minutes.’

Ms Goldman says there is still a lack of understanding because asthma is a complex disease which impact people differently.

‘To find the right medication, to find the right dose is not the simplest thing in the world but education is key,’ she said.

The Asthma Foundation regularly conducts survey in a bid to get a reading of how well asthma is controlled and other key issues.

‘Most people thought it was well controlled but three quarters of cases are not well controlled according to our asthma test.’

Australia has the highest incidence of asthma in the world, with every one in ten Australian suffering from the disease.

But over the last decade there has been a significant decrease in deaths.

‘There was 1000 deaths in the late 1980s and recently there’s been around 400 deaths,’ said Ms Goldman.

‘There’s still more work to be done.’

The Asthma Foundation has encouraged people on its website to take the asthma control test, a way to work out your level of asthma control.

It asks five questions, including, how often you’ve had shortness of breath, and the asthma score will assist health care professionals in helping sufferers to reach the best asthma control possible.

Source: Ziniak, Amy. “Death Rate among Children Suffering from Asthma Soars Because of ‘complacency’ over Life-saving Medication.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2014.